A 21-year-old La Puebla man who allegedly left the scene of a single-vehicle rollover that ejected and killed one of his passengers early Thursday morning (July 30) at Taos Junction Bridge has been charged with homicide by vehicle and other charges related to the fatal crash.
Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a press release that Andrew Lopez was driving around 1:15 a.m. on State Road 570 near the bridge, which crosses the Río Grande by the Orilla Verde Recreation area, when his vehicle rolled and a 36-year-old man from Española was ejected and killed.
A crash investigation determined that the passenger was not wearing a seatbelt, the sheriff said. Three juveniles were also riding in the vehicle when the crash occurred, but suffered only minor injuries.
Hogrefe said that Lopez "initially left the scene but was soon located."
"He was detained, treated at Holy Cross [Medical Center], and later arrested and charged with homicide by vehicle due to impairment, as well as other charges," he continued.
The sheriff said his office was able to gain approval for a search warrant to determine that Lopez was impaired at the time of the crash. "Speed and alcohol are contributing factors in this crash," Hogrefe said.
He has stated that it is his policy to wait 24 hours before identifying deceased victims, and so had not yet released the name of the person killed in the crash as of noon Thursday.