Public Safety

  • Sheriff's office looking closely at accident victim's claims

    The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office investigation into a recent accident on N.M. 502 has intensified, due to discrepancies found in one of the victim’s descriptions on how the accident happened.
    Around 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 25, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Alamos fire and police departments responded to an accident on N.M. 502 just west of Anderson Overlook. When they arrived they found a late model, maroon Nissan Sentra at the bottom of a ravine on the westbound side. There is no guardrail in that section of N.M. 502.
    Though one of the victims, Zachary Sanchez, 30, said his girlfriend, Andrea Harvier, 31, was driving, the sheriff’s office took out search warrants to further investigate the accident .
    Sheriff’s office personnel said before being transported to the hospital, Sanchez was saying he was the passenger.
    However, as personnel examined the accident scene further, they determined it was Sanchez who was the driver, not Harvier.
    “...it was determined based on several factors that the driver of the vehicle was Zachary Sanchez and not Andrea Harvier as initially reported,” said a statement in one of the sheriff’s warrants.

  • Porter faces new charge

    Steven Porter, the White Rock resident who is facing 20 drug charges including 13 felonies, may not be out of jail for a while.
    While out on bail for those charges, (He successfully posted 10 percent of his $102,000 bond) He allegedly took off his GPS monitoring device, according to police.
    Court Parole Officer Linda Pena noted in a probable cause statement that she noticed “abrasions, bruising and scrapes on Mr. Porter’s ankle and foot where his electronic monitoring device was placed. She also noted that the hair on Porter’s ankle was nearly gone, a telltale sign that the device had been tampered with, according to her.
    Upon discovery, Porter was promptly rearrested and brought back into custody. Porter went to magistrate court for another hearing before judge Pat Casados to face the new felony charge.
    Pena also noted in the report that there was a “substantial amount of time“ between Friday, Aug. 22 and the Saturday, Aug. 23 that the device showed no movement.
    “Which means, during that 20-hour period of time, Mr. Porter was either motionless, or he was not wearing the device,” said police in the probable cause statement.
    Porter’s lawyer, Elden Pennington, tried to argue that the particular GPS device monitoring Porter’s movements was unreliable.

  • Sheriff IDs victims in Main Hill crash

    The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has released the names of the people involved in Monday’s single-vehicle crash on N.M. 502.
    The man that was driving the car that plunged into Pueblo Canyon Monday is Zachary Sanchez, 30, of Los Alamos. His passenger was Española resident Andrea Harvier, 31.
    According to Major Ken Johnson, spokesperson for the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office, Sanchez’ 2004 maroon Nissan Sentra was parked near the Anderson Overlook around Mile Post 4 at 3:14 p.m. when it suddenly accelerated for about 100 feet before plummeting 200 feet into the canyon.
    When rescue officials arrived at the base of the cliff, they found Sanchez outside the car, dazed and walking around. Harvier was found lying on the ground a short distance from the car.
    Though they know for sure that Harvier was ejected from the vehicle, they aren’t sure about Sanchez. It also was not known if they were wearing seatbelts.
    According to the Sheriff’s Department, Sanchez is currently in stable condition, and Harvier is still listed as critical. Sanchez was airlifted separately to CHRISTUS St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe and Harvier was airlifted to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque.

  • Cone Zone 08-24-14

     Pavement Preservation Work in White Rock:
    As part of the pavement preservation effort, chip seal operations are underway on several streets in White Rock. Streets that will be chip sealed include Hamlin Court, Pruitt, Paige Loop and Paige Court. Residents on the affected streets have been notified and will receive 48-hour notice before construction begins on their street. During this work, residential access as well as delivery and emergency access will be maintained. Traffic control will include lane closures, flagging operations, and short term delays. Expect loose chips (small gravel) on these streets when work is occurring.
    Central Avenue Improvements Project:
    The contractor is reporting that pedestrians are crossing into the work zone instead of at the provided crossings; this is extremely dangerous and pedestrians are advised to use the provided pathways.
    Central Avenue continues to be fully closed between 15th Street and the Post Office driveway. Access to the Post Office will be maintained. Vehicles will be detoured to Deacon Street and the Main Street driveway into Central Park Square is also closed.

  • Twenty drug charges filed against White Rock man

    Steven Porter, a 46-year-old White Rock man who is facing 20 charges involving controlled substances — 13 felonies and seven misdemeanors — made his first court appearance before Magistrate Judge Pat Casados Tuesday.

    Porter, who was arrested last weekend, was held on a $102,000 bond.
    Bond was posted Tuesday and Porter was released from the Los Alamos Detention Center at 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to magistrate court clerk John Baca.

    Porter’s next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 2.
    Baca said Wednesday that Porter did not yet have a lawyer.
    Police seized the drugs in Porter’s home after obtaining a search warrant to look for evidence to connect Porter to a rash of damage to property incidents. Police subsequently amended the search warrant to seize the controlled substances after they were found on Porter’s property.
    This all started apparently in 2012.
    According to the statement of probable cause, the Pajarito Acres Homeowners Association obtained a final judgment order from the First Judicial Court to have Porter tear down a structure, which was a covered patio, that he had built on his property located within Pajarito Acres in the 200 block of Rio Bravo. The court ruled that the patio was against the association’s bylaws.

  • Los Alamos girl found

    Rosa Betts, 17, a junior at Los Alamos High School, was found Friday night after missing for close to 30 hours.
    A family spokesman and Los Alamos Police Friday confirmed she had been located.
    Betts had been missing since 11 a.m. Thursday, according to her father Stephen Betts of Los Alamos.
    “We showed her photo to some teens today and they said they had seen her. But the last time her parents saw her was at the high school,” Stephen Betts said.
    Betts said police were notified Thursday night.

  • Rio Arriba County sheriff arrested

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A northern New Mexico sheriff who has had brushes with scandal throughout his career was arrested Friday on charges alleging he assaulted a man with a gun following a high-speed chase, according to authorities and court records.
    FBI spokesman Frank Fisher confirmed Rio Arriba County Sheriff Thomas Rodella and his son, Thomas, Jr., were arrested in their Espanola home but he wouldn’t say why.
    Federal court documents filed Tuesday, however, say both men were indicted on charges of conspiracy and falsifying records related to the March incident.The men, the indictment said, engaged “in a high-speed pursuit and unreasonable seizure” of a motorist identified only as M.T.
    The sheriff was not in uniform when he jumped out of his Jeep SUV with a silver revolver in hand, court papers said.
    “Rodella assaulted M.T. with a silver revolver while M.T. continually begged not to be shot,” the indictment said.
    U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez and FBI Special Agent in Charge Carol Lee planned a news conference Friday morning.
    A lawyer for Rodella didn’t immediately return a phone message and email from The Associated Press.

  • Police Beat 08-13-14

    Police Beat items are compiled from public information contained in Los Alamos Police Department Records. Charges or citations listed in Police Beat do not imply innocence or guilt. The Los Alamos Police Department uses the term “arrest” to define anyone who has been physically arrested, server a court summons, or issued a citation.

    July 31

    3:07 p.m. ­—Raymond Martinez, 29, of Los Alamos was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia at 2064 42nd Street.

    5:23 p.m. — A 52-year-old Espanola man reported to police he was the victim of a car burglary at Crossroads.

    Aug. 1

    6:49 p.m. — A 36-year-old Los Alamos woman reported to police she was the victim of careless driving at 37th and Trinity Drive.

    7:20 a.m.—Daniel Hoffman, 54, of Rio Rancho was arrested for driving under the influence, fourth conviction at Airport Road.

    Aug. 4

    10:27 a.m. — Rowena MacDonald, 48, of Los Alamos was arrested on a municipal court warrant at the Los Alamos Justice Center.

    8:39 a.m. — A 54-year-old Los Alamos woman reported to police she was the victim of graffiti, (less than $1000) at Longview Drive.

    9:33 a.m. — A 22-year-old Santa Cruz man reported to police he was the victim of a vehicle burglary at Central Avenue.

  • Cone Zone 08-10-14

     Central Avenue Improvements Project:
    Central Avenue continues to be fully closed between 15th Street and the Post Office driveway. Access to the Post Office will be maintained. Vehicles will be detoured to Deacon Street and the Main Street driveway into Central Park Square is also closed. A pedestrian crossing is located near Starbucks and additional pedestrian detours are posted; please use these detours and stay out of the work zone. Please use alternate business entrances including those along Deacon, 15th Street, 20th Street, and Nectar.
    The contractor continues working day and night crews in an effort to complete this section of the project as quickly as possible
    N.M. 502 / Trinity Storm Drain Improvements:
    Final roadway marking and striping at south leg of Knecht at Trinity is scheduled for Sunday, August 10, weather permitting. Expect minor traffic control at this intersection.
    Western Area Improvements Phase 2:
    Work continues on 46th Street and 47th Street off Trinity. Access to residences as well as services such as mail delivery, emergency services, trash and recycling collection will be maintained.
    Sound Wall between Tewa Loop and Airport Road:
    Shoulder work continues on the south side of East Drive; please do not park on the south side of East Drive.

  • Former Jemez Springs police chief charged with rape

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A former New Mexico police chief is facing charges that he raped a woman while she was in custody.
    A grand jury indicted fired Jemez Springs police chief Shane Harger on Thursday on charges of kidnapping, criminal sexual penetration, criminal sexual contact and extortion.
    State police arrested Harger at his Edgewood home.
    According to a complaint filed in January, the 19-year-old victim says she and three men were stopped by Jemez Springs police. The woman says Harger raped her while holding her at the police station for three hours.
    State police spokesman Emmanuel Gutierrez says an investigation found a “sexual act did occur.”
    Harger was fired in February over what town officials say was questionable judgment.
    An attorney for Harger says he is innocent of all charges.