An Abiquiú man remains in jail following his arrest Thursday on suspicion of chasing the mother of his two young children in his Dodge truck and intentionally ramming her car, with their boys inside, on a rural road in northern Santa Fe County.
Kenneth Franklin Vaughn, 26, is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, child abuse, aggravated battery and reckless driving, according to Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office reports and a criminal complaint filed Friday in Magistrate Court.
The 31-year-old Chimayó woman suffered an injured hip and was hospitalized, a sheriff’s deputy wrote in a report of the incident. The two boys, ages 1 and 7, were bruised and cut, the report said.
The crash, reported around 8:30 a.m. Thursday on La Puebla Road, just off U.S. 84/285, occurred as the woman was driving the boys to a nearby Boys & Girls Clubs site, where they receive child care, Deputy Michael Matison wrote.
The couple have an on-again, off-again relationship, according to the report.
Vaughn had called the woman at 2 that morning asking for money because of his gambling losses, the woman told the deputy. She refused, telling Vaughn she had to pay for the boys’ day care services, the report said.
As the woman was driving her kids to the Boys & Girls Clubs site later that morning in her Dodge Neon, Vaughn caught up with them in a Dodge Dakota pickup and ran her off the road multiple times, according to the criminal complaint. The woman called 911 as Vaughn sped in front of her, driving northbound on U.S. 84/285.
She again encountered Vaughn traveling in the opposite direction on La Puebla Road, where he “turned abruptly in to her lane of travel, not allowing [her] to react before getting hit,” Matison wrote in his report. The head-on crash resulted in heavy damage to both vehicles.
The woman told the deputy she had been traveling about 35 mph at the time. The 7-year-old boy had been riding in the front passenger seat, and the 1-year-old boy was in a booster seat in the back.
Vaughn’s speed at the time of the crash was unclear, and there was no evidence either car had braked before the crash.
Vaughn told Matison he had dropped his phone while driving and hit the woman’s car while searching for the device, according to the report.
The woman’s mother arrived at the crash scene and told the deputy Vaughn has a history of substance abuse. She also accused him of intentionally damaging other vehicles, Matison wrote.
In his report, the deputy referred to an April 26 arrest in which Vaughn had been riding in a vehicle with his boys while their mother was driving and was suspected of pulling on the steering wheel in an attempt to cause a crash.
A court document from that case alleges Vaughn had been hitting the woman in the face, arm and leg as she was driving in the Pojoaque area on U.S. 84/285. He then grabbed the steering wheel and turned on the emergency brake, said the document, which charges Vaughn with battery and child abuse.
It does not mention whether the incident resulted in a crash. That case is pending in court.
Vaughn has several driving-related criminal charges dating back to 2012, court records show.
The 7-year-old boy confirmed to the deputy that his father had tried to run his mother off the road Thursday and, after crashing into her vehicle, again asked her for money, Matison’s report said.
Vaughn was arrested at the scene on a warrant for failing to appear in court, according to the report and jail records.