Alcohol may be factor in Sunday's Main Hill crash

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Public safety: Motorcyclist airlifted to Santa Fe hospital

By Whitney Jones

Alcohol may have been involved in a motorcycle and truck collision Sunday afternoon, which closed the main hill — N.M. 502 — for hours and sent one man to the hospital.

Los Alamos County Police and Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Departments responded to the incident at 3:59 p.m.

Santa Fe Sheriff’s Lt. Joe McLaughlin said the motorcyclist, Peter Padilla, 47, of El Prado, was heading southbound down the hill, lost control of the motorcycle and swerved into oncoming traffic around the bend at Anderson lookout. Los Alamos resident Rodney Dominguez, 44, who was driving a Toyota Tundra, was driving up the hill when he saw Padilla and swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting him, but the motorcyclist struck the left side of the truck.

Each vehicle sustained heavy damage.

McLaughlin said Padilla, who was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, was airlifted to Christus St. Vincent hospital in Santa Fe with non-life threatening injuries including several bone fractures. Padilla is still a patient at the hospital. Dominguez and his family, who were also in the truck, were treated and released from Los Alamos Medical Center Sunday night, McLaughlin said.

There was indication that Padilla may have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, McLaughlin said. Results from a blood alcohol concentration test taken at the hospital are still pending and can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days, he said.

And while at the hospital, one of the sheriff’s deputies located a container in Padilla’s clothing containing suspected marijuana and a pipe with suspected marijuana resin inside, McLaughlin said.

He said Padilla is also not licensed to drive a motorcycle in the state.

He has been charged with DWI, careless driving, driving without a license, and possession of under an ounce of marijuana and drug paraphernalia – all misdemeanor offenses.

McLaughlin said Dominguez did nothing wrong and was right in his action of attempting to avoid hitting the motorcyclist.
He said springtime is when more and more accidents involving motorcyclists occur and warned drivers to be extra cautious.

John Severance contributed to this report.