Man charged in car crash that killed Abq. hip-hop artist

Phaedra Haywood
phaywood@sfnewmexican.com
Posted 11/19/19

Police arrested a Santa Fe man late Tuesday (Nov. 19) on charges of vehicular homicide, aggravated DWI and other counts in the death of an Albuquerque hip-hop artist -- just hours after a magistrate ruled that he remain on house arrest while awaiting charges in the case.

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Man charged in car crash that killed Abq. hip-hop artist

Posted

Police arrested a Santa Fe man late Tuesday (Nov. 19) on charges of vehicular homicide, aggravated DWI and other counts in the death of an Albuquerque hip-hop artist -- just hours after a magistrate ruled that he remain on house arrest while awaiting charges in the case.

Investigators believe Diego Pichardo-Rodriguez, 24, was speeding and driving on the wrong side of West Alameda Street when his pickup crashed into the vehicle driven by Andrew Martinez, who performed under the name Wake Self, around 10 p.m. Nov. 3 near the intersection of Camino Alire, according to a police report.

Pichardo-Rodriguez, Martinez and Martinez's passenger -- 28-year-old Santa Fe muralist Kevin Allende -- were hospitalized following the crash. Martinez, 30, died a few days later.

Pichardo-Rodriguez -- who police said suffered a crushed pelvis, two broken legs, two broken arms and a punctured lung in the crash -- was released from the hospital late last week and received a summons ordering him to appear in court Dec. 10 on the charges, his attorney Megan Dorsey said Tuesday.

He appeared in a wheelchair Tuesday morning in front of Magistrate David Segura in a different DWI case from June, in which he was accused of violating the terms of his release by testing positive for alcohol numerous times and by being involved in the fatal crash. Segura ordered that Pichardo-Rodriguez remain under house arrest.

In the June case, he was arrested after Santa Fe police responded to a report that a truck collided with a guardrail on Zafarano Drive and officers found him asleep in the driver's seat of his truck.

But Dorsey confirmed late Tuesday that Pichardo-Rodriguez called her around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to tell her he was being arrested and asked her what he should do.

"He and I spoke as he was being arrested," Dorsey said. "He reached out to me seeking advice as to what he could do. Of course, my advice was that he be cooperative and compliant, which of course he was. ... There is nothing I can do for him tonight ... but I will be trying to get him to see the judge as soon as possible."

Dorsey said it was her understanding that Santa Fe police were acting on a warrant issued by the District Attorney's Office and signed by state District Judge T. Glenn Ellington sometime Tuesday.

"But I have not seen it yet, so I can't tell you what the contents are," she said. Dorsey said she hoped prosecutors had informed the judge who signed the warrant that Pichardo-Rodriguez had been released on house arrest Tuesday morning in Magistrate Court.

But Santa Fe police spokesman Greg Gurulé confirmed officers had arrested Pichardo-Rodriguez late Tuesday and taken him to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for medical clearance in anticipation of booking him into the Santa Fe County jail.

District Attorney spokesman Henry Varela said prosecutors had obtained the warrant and filed a motion for pretrial detention in the case but could provide no other details late Tuesday.

Police had charged Pichardo-Rodriguez with driving under the influence when he allegedly caused the Nov. 3 crash that killed Martinez.

Gurulé said Tuesday results of toxicology tests run on blood drawn from Pichardo-Rodriguez that night won't be available for a few weeks.

But according to court records, Pichardo-Rodriguez was accused of violating the conditions of his release in the June case by testing positive for alcohol on seven occasions, including the day of the fatal crash.

According to an electronic monitoring program incident report, a Soberlink device determined Pichardo-Rodriguez had alcohol in his system the night of the crash and missed a test at 7:41 p.m.

Pichardo-Rodriguez had appeared before Segura on Monday and Tuesday, court records show.

His Monday appearance was in response to an arrest warrant issued Friday accusing him of violating his terms of release in the June case.

Segura determined Pichardo-Rodriguez was not a flight risk because he is "confined to a wheelchair and is not ambulatory."

His Tuesday appearance was related to a motion filed by prosecutors asking the court to review his conditions of release in light of his violations and new charges. Segura ruled Pichardo-Rodriguez could remain out of custody as he awaited trial in the case.

According to court records, the warrant issued Friday was the third issued for Pichardo-Martinez since his release in the June case.

The first was issued in August. It's not clear from online court records how it was resolved. The second was issued Oct. 21 and was quashed after Pichardo-Rodriguez appeared in court Nov. 1.

Segura said Tuesday he was barred by law from commenting on the specifics of cases but that each must be handled according to its own unique set of facts.

Court records show Albuquerque police arrested Pichardo-Rodriguez on a DWI charge on Dec. 2, 2017, but prosecutors dropped the case after a defense attorney said the state had lost video of the incident from a camera on the officer's belt.

Dorsey said Tuesday she couldn't comment on his prior cases, but she noted it was important for people to remember that despite his two previous arrests, Pichardo-Rodriguez has never been convicted of DWI.

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