Ran­chos woman ar­rested af­ter deadly crash on N.M. 68

The Taos News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Staci Mat­lock ed­i­[email protected]­news.com Re­porter Cody Hooks con­tributed to this re­port.

Eight peo­ple were in­jured and one per­son died in a three-ve­hi­cle crash Fri­day evening (Dec. 21) on State Road 68 south of Ran­chos de Taos. Three of those in­jured were chil­dren, ac­cord­ing to the Taos County Sher­iff’s Of­fice.

Sher­iff’s deputies ar­rested Ie­sha Loretta Hartt, 25, of Ran­chos de Taos on charges re­lated to the crash. Hartt was booked into the Taos Count De­ten­tion Cen­ter on pre­lim­i­nary charges of homi­cide by mo­tor ve­hi­cle, a third de­gree felony; great bod­ily harm by ve­hi­cle, a third de­gree felony; three counts of abuse of a child, all fourth de­gree felonies; and reck­less driv­ing.

All the in­jured were trans­ported to the emer­gency room at Holy Cross Med­i­cal Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to Chris Me­d­ina, head of Taos County Emer­gency Ser­vices.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors with the sher­iff’s of­fice say it ap­pears Hartt was driv­ing a red, four-door Audi and trav­el­ing north­bound on State Road 68 around 6 p.m. when she at­tempted to pass a line of ve­hi­cles near the Stake­out Drive in­ter­sec­tion. The pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­di­cates Hartt col­lided head-on with two other ve­hi­cles caus­ing the crash, said Sher­iff Jerry Ho­grefe in a press re­lease.

The front seat pas­sen­ger of the Audi, a rel­a­tive of Hartt’s, was killed in the col­li­sion, Ho­grefe said in the state­ment. The pas­sen­ger has not been named pend­ing no­ti­fi­ca­tion of fam­ily. Three chil­dren in the back seat of the car were se­ri­ously in­jured.

A gold Ford sedan over­turned when it was struck by the Audi, and a third ve­hi­cle, a black Toy­ota sedan, was badly dam­aged. At least two peo­ple were trapped in­side the Ford when it over­turned and had to be ex­tri­cated by first re­spon­ders be­fore they could be trans­ported to Holy Cross.

The crash backed up traf­fic on State Road 68 in both direc­tions for more than an hour while law en­force­ment and first re­spon­ders worked to place the in­jured into am­bu­lances and clear the crashed ve­hi­cles. All Taos Fire units and three am­bu­lances were called to the scene. Sgt. Greg Tru­jillo with the Taos County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, other deputies and New Mex­ico State Po­lice se­cured the scene and con­ducted the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Deputies in­ter­viewed Hartt at the scene and found she “dis­played ob­vi­ous signs of im­pair­ment and later ad­mit­ted to hav­ing con­sumed al­co­hol be­fore driv­ing,” said the state­ment is­sued by Ho­grefe. Tru­jillo had Hartt take stan­dard field so­bri­ety tests be­fore ar­rest­ing her.

Deputies then ob­tained a search war­rant for a blood draw to test Hartt’s al­co­hol and drug lev­els, and those re­sults were pend­ing, ac­cord­ing to Ho­grefe. Hartt was also given a breath test that showed her blood al­co­hol con­tent to be 0.11.

Taos fire­fight­ers were still work­ing to clear the crash site when some units were called to a house fire off of Cañon East. New Mex­ico State Po­lice also were called to as­sist first re­spon­ders at an­other ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent with in­juries near Cerro Fri­day evening (Dec. 21), ac­cord­ing to Taos Cen­tral Dis­patch.

An­other ve­hi­cle crash hap­pened Christ­mas Day (Dec. 25) in the Taos Canyon. The three­car ac­ci­dent hap­pened between 3 and 4 p.m. on U.S. 64 east, near the turnoff for Valle Es­con­dido.

The crash was not se­ri­ous, ac­cord­ing to Chris Me­d­ina, Taos County EMS chief.

The Río Fer­nando Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment, as well as Taos County Sher­iff’s Of­fice and Taos County EMS, re­sponded to the call, said Río Fer­nando Chief Russ Driskell. Traf­fic was shut down for about 45 min­utes while the scene was cleared.

Mor­gan Timms/The Taos News

Eight peo­ple were in­jured, in­clud­ing three chil­dren, and one per­son died af­ter a three-ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent near The Stake­out south of Taos on State Road 68 Fri­day (Dec. 21).

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