A fatal two-vehicle crash claimed two lives and critically injured one person early Saturday morning on the low road to Taos. Courtesy Taos County Sheriff’s Office
Two people were killed and one person was critically injured during a two-vehicle crash early Saturday morning along N.M. 68 in Taos County.
Juan Espinoza, 21, of Taos reportedly had alcohol in his system and was speeding at the time of the collision, according to the Taos County Sheriff’s Office. He has been charged with two counts of homicide by vehicle, a third-degree felony, according to New Mexico state statutes.
Deputies discovered that the vehicle Espinoza drove during the collision, a gray 2003 Chevy Tahoe, had been stolen. In addition to the crash, he is also being investigated as a person of interest in a call of “shots fired” reported earlier on Friday. “Additional charges are being considered by investigators,” states a press release from the sheriff’s office.
The crash occurred at approximately 3:28 a.m. along State Road 68 at mile marker 36.6, according to the press release, which states that Espinoza was headed southbound when he lost control, veered onto the southbound shoulder and overcorrected into the northbound lane, striking a black 2014 Nissan Juke carrying three passengers.
Sheriff’s office deputies, Taos County Emergency Services personnel and officers from Taos Police Department responded to the crash.
The female driver, of Santa Fe, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second male passenger was transported to Holy Cross Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The third passenger, also male, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where he remains in critical condition.
Espinoza was treated at Holy Cross Hospital and later booked in the Taos County Adult Detention Center.
Additional details will be released after an initial investigation has been completed, according to the press release.
“This is yet another terrible tragedy that has struck our community and is a stark reminder that driving drunk seriously effects the safety of our community,” said Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe.