LAHS graduate killed in Espanola crash

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By The Staff

Two people, including a 2010 graduate of Los Alamos High School, were killed in a crash near Española Wednesday morning.

Eric Garcia, the director of Española Public Safety, said a southbound vehicle driven by Marissa Martinez, 19, of Alcade, struck a white van driven by Daniel Garcia, 27, of Española about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The 2007 Mazda 6 being driven by Martinez ricocheted off the van and veered into the northbound lane where it hit a Dodge truck, which was hauling a backhoe on a flatbed.

“The crash pushed them forward and they were both killed instantly,” Garcia said.

Garcia said the vehicle slammed into the trailer so hard, it knocked a backhoe off. The crash caused the roof of the car to be ripped off, killing the driver and passenger Eric J. Romero, 21, of Alcade, Garcia said. 

Romero attended Los Alamos High School and was a 2010 graduate, according to assistant superintendent Gerry Washburn.

“I did not know the young man but it is always sad when a former student passes away,” Washburn said.

The driver of the van was arrested on outstanding warrants, Garcia said.

The driver of the Dodge truck, Mark Sanchez of Española, was not injured or cited, Garcia said.

Hwy. 68 was reopened in both directions, as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Garcia said.

“People at the scene said the couple were heading to Los Alamos for a court date,” Garcia said.

Romero was due in Los Alamos District Court at 9 a.m., according to his public defender, Scott Riedel. He said he and Marissa just had a baby together “and was looking forward to putting the charges behind him and getting his life back together,” Riedel said. “He was looking forward to becoming a good father.”

Romero was facing automobile burglary and theft of a credit card charges.

Garcia said investigators spent most of the day reconstructing the scene of the crash and Hwy. 68 was closed for nearly 10 hours. At the scene, drugs or alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash. Garcia said speed may have been a factor.