Man charged in 2017 hit-and-run wanted by authorities


Law enforcement are searching for an El Prado man charged in a hit-and-run that amputated the leg of an elderly man who was walking near the Río Grande Gorge Bridge in 2017.

Juan Rodelas, 24, is wanted for failure to appear on several charges related to the incident, including knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death, a third-degree felony, tampering with evidence, a fourth-degree felony, and other traffic-related charges.

The victim in the hit-and-run, 74-year-old Charles Covington of Texas, was walking with his family on the west end of the Gorge Bridge the afternoon of Aug. 5, 2017, when Rodelas, driving a gray Chevy Cavalier, allegedly struck Covington and fled.

Covington's right leg was amputated and his left leg was broken when he was struck. Off-duty firefighters on the scene created a tourniquet which they used to slow the man's bleeding before medics arrived. Covington was then flown by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Members of the Taos County Sheriff's Office later located the Chevy Cavalier on Santistevan Road in El Prado, where they arrested Rodelas without incident.

While Rodelas was initially placed on a no-bond hold, an order that he would remain in jail, but he was later released.

A warrant was issued for his arrest in early December after he failed to appear for a court date in Taos District Court.

The 24-year-old is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall with black hair, brown eyes, weighing around 115 pounds.

His last known location was on Santistevan Road in El Prado, according to information provided by Taos County Crime Stoppers.

Information related to his whereabouts can be submitted by calling 911 or through Taos County Crime Stoppers at (575) 758-4258.


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