Home Law and Courts Mother’s Day reckless driver kills two, flees scene

Mother’s Day reckless driver kills two, flees scene

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Gabriela Arsiaga/News-Sun

A reckless driver is accused of killing a couple and fleeing the scene of the hit and run on Mother’s Day, according to Hobbs Police.

Euden Avila, 24, of Hobbs, was arrested on May 12 and charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle, both third-degree felonies, and leaving the scene of an accident, a fourth-degree felony.

According to the HPD report, on May 8 around 4:27 p.m., officers were called to the 1100 block of S. Dal Paso Street for a separate incident that involved Avila. While police were conducting their investigation at this location and they were attempting to conduct a traffic stop on the Dodge Ram Avila was driving, Avila got into the driver seat and fled from officers. Officers did not pursue the vehicle due to a department policy.

Thirteen minutes after the initial call about Avila, another call came in.

Around 4:40 p.m. May 8, HPD officers responded to the area of Victoria Lane in reference to a vehicle driving recklessly. According to the HPD report, the witness told police there was a gold vehicle with a male driver driving through properties and into the ally of West Victoria. A few moments later, the witness told police the driver was traveling in the direction of Eunice Highway and wrecked at the corner of Dal Paso and Stanolind Road.

The first officer to arrive on scene, officer Carrasco, saw three vehicles disabled and in one of those vehicles there was a woman, Damitira Richardson. Her husband, Jerry Wrighter, was lying on the ground just a few feet from the vehicle.

“Officer Carrasco approached the Nissan and observed a female in the passenger seat to which he stated she was unresponsive … After assessing Damitria, Officer Carrasco turned his attention to a male subject lying face down in a dirt lot just southeast of the intersection,” the HPD report states.

A few moments after Officer Carrasco attended to both victims, Hobbs EMS arrived on scene and began life saving measures on Wrighter. While EMS was attending to Wrighter, Hobbs firefighters began attempting to extract Richardson from the Altima. After extracting Richardson from the vehicle, life saving measures were attempted on on her as well.

Both Wrighter and Richardson were transported to Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital where they later succumbed to their injuries.

While conducting their investigation, the vehicle seen on Victoria driving recklessly was seen on the east side of Dal Paso with heavy front end damage. The vehicle was identified as a gold 2011 Dodge Ram.

According to the report, when officers approached the vehicle, it was unoccupied. The third vehicle involved in the accident was a black 2017 Ford F350 and had extensive damage to the front driver side of the vehicle.

A witness to the accident told officers he was traveling north on the Eunice Highway and in front of him was a black Ford F350 also traveling north. The Altima Richardson and Wrighter were in was also traveling north, according to the witness, and as the three vehicles approached Stanolind, the gold Dodge Ram driven by Avila, allegedly blew through the stop sign and struck the Altima. After striking the Altima, the Altima then was struck by the F350.

“(The witness) said he stopped to check on the occupants of the vehicles. As he stopped, (the witness) said he observed a male subject wearing a short sleeve with a white button shirt…beginning to leave the scene and running westbound on Stanolind,” the report states.

The driver of the F350 told officers he was traveling north on the Eunice Highway and as he approached Stanolind he did not see an Altima traveling near him.

“(The driver of the F350) said in the corner of his eye, he saw the initial impact of the black Nissan and gold Dodge. Immediately after (the driver) said his vehicle and the Nissan collided…After the accident happened (the driver) told me he exited his vehicle and observed a Mexican male standing between his truck which was in the furthest east lane of northbound traffic and the black Nissan which was in the west lane of northbound traffic…” the report states.

According to the driver of the F350, Avila was bleeding from his face and had a laceration on his forehead. Avila then began walking in the direction of the F350 and the driver stated he pushed him and then Avila took off running westbound on Stanolind.

The day after the accident, HPD investigators went to watch video footage from the store where the initial call came in about Avila.

According to the report, Avila was seen walking back and forth inside of the store and when police arrived Avila is seen on cameras leaving the store.

A few moments after reviewing footage from the store, investigators went to another business, located on the 1800 block of North Dal Paso Street, which had footage of the whole incident.

That store’s cameras showed the Dodge, driven by Avila, traveling at a high rate of speed eastbound and approaching the west stop sign at the intersection of Dal Paso and Stanolind. The Dodge is seen driving through the stop sign, t-boning the Altima.

“After the vehicle were pushed eastbound…the Dodge Ram spun and came to a stop just southeast of the intersection between a wooden power pole and a wire. The passenger side door of the Dodge was wide open…Seconds after all vehicles came to a resting point and all dust settled, a tall subject (Avila) began running from the scene, westbound on Stanolind and out of the frame,” the report states.

Avila was arrested on May 10 for two bench warrants for resisting evading or obstructing an officer, unrelated to the accident. When officer’s made contact with Avila, he had visible injuries to his face, head and other body parts consistent with being involved in an accident.

“Euden had major swelling to his face, specifically his left eye and a portion of his head above the left eye. Euden had blue stitches on his forehead above his left eye as well with drive up blood. I observed small lacerations on the right side of his neck. The lacerations on Euden’s neck appeared to be consistent to a small sharp object cutting him, possibly glass. I observed bruising and abrasions to Euden’s arms. Euden also had scrapes and abrasions to his left leg, just below the knew. These abrasions were fresh and are consistent with road rash,” the report states.

After Avila was arrested, a warrant was served to search the vehicle Avila was driving at the time of the accident. While searching the vehicle New Mexico State Police assisted with the investigation and accessed the airbag control module, which told investigators the speed Avila was traveling at the time of the accident. It was noted to be traveling 72 miles per hour in a 30 mph zone, approximately five second before impact.

During interviews, he told them, “I don’t know what to tell you man. I don’t even know if I was there, in a wreck. I just know what I know man I don’t know too much. I don’t remember anything man. I don’t know you say I was in a wreck already.”

According to the police report, Avila also told investigators, “Yea, nah, I better wait before I get a lawyer man, before I (expletive) myself bro. I don’t even know what’s going on bro. You said I was in a car accident, some people were telling me some people got killed man. Those are some serious charges there man. I can’t (expletive) around and just talk to you and (expletive) end up screwing myself.”

Avila has charges going back to 2016 where he was charged with driving while under the influence of drugs and no driver’s license, both misdemeanors.

Also in 2016, he was charged a second time for driving while under the influence of liquor, no driver’s license, stop or yield intersection, and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, all misdemeanors.

In 2020, he was charged with possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Also in 2020, he was charged with kidnapping, a first-degree felony; false imprisonment and aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, both fourth-degree felonies; resisting evading or obstructing an officer, driving while license is revoked, and failure to maintain traffic lanes, all misdemeanors. All charges were dismissed in that case.

In 2021, Avila was charged with robbery, a third-degree felony; unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; and resisting evading or obstructing an officer and interference with communications, both misdemeanors. Avila was only sentenced for resisting evading or obstructing an officer in that incident. All other charges were dismissed.

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