Driver crashes into three parked cars

-A A +A
By Carol A. Clark

While reportedly fleeing from police Thursday afternoon, Anthony J. Martinez, 26, 3301 Canyon Road, crashed into three cars parked in the driveway of a home at 3504 Arizona St.

Martinez, who recently moved from Tierra Amarilla, had been stopped for erratic driving a couple of minutes earlier but took off before the officer could speak with him, according to reports.

He then lost control of his 1992 light gold Lincoln Town Car as he attempted to turn left onto Arizona from 35th Street at a high rate of speed, according to police.

“We initially received reports from residents on North Mesa who saw the car driving erratically,” Lt. Chuck Ney said at the scene. “Ofc. Daniel LaDuke responded and saw the car weaving and having trouble maintaining its lane.”

The driver pulled over at the corner of Diamond Drive and 35th Street, but as LaDuke walked towards his Lincoln, he sped away.

Martinez raced up 35th Street in an effort to evade the officer, lost control and smashed head-on into the parked cars, according to the police report.

“Following the crash, and in a further effort to flee and evade the officer, Mr. Martinez jumped out of his car and ran toward the back of the house,” Ney said. “In the neighbor’s back yard he turned and came at Ofc. LaDuke in a menacing manner at which time the officer subdued him with pepper spray.”

No one was hurt during the incident that started at about 3:10 p.m., according to the report. As a precaution and to draw a blood test to determine alcohol content, Martinez was transported by the Los Alamos Fire Department to Los Alamos Medical Center.

His blood test is being sent to a state laboratory in Albuquerque for analysis, Ney said. In the mean time, Martinez is charged with suspicion of DWI. He also incurred five additional charges including failure to maintain lane, resisting arrest, reckless driving and assault on a peace officer.

His final charge is aggravated fleeing and evading an officer, which is a fourth degree felony. The charge escalated to “aggravated” because Martinez drove his car at a high rate of speed on a residential street, endangering residents in the neighborhood, Ney said.

If convicted, Martinez could receive up to 18 months in jail plus a fine for the felony charge. The DWI charge also carries mandatory jail time of 96 hours at a minimum.

Bond is set at $11,000. Martinez will remain in jail until he bonds out or until he goes before Magistrate Court, Ney said, adding that because of his felony charge, Martinez will likely be bound over to District Court.

Both airbags on Martinez’ Lincoln Town Car deployed on impact and the front end of the massive vehicle pleated inward like an accordion. It was towed from the scene. Ney estimates the car’s damage renders it a total loss.

Martinez had vehicle insurance at the time of the accident, police said.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her blog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.