Home News Local News Artesia man accused of injuring 6 in crash pleads no contest

Artesia man accused of injuring 6 in crash pleads no contest

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An Artesia man who authorities say is responsible for putting a family of six in the hospital in early July 2016 has pleaded no contest to all charges, ranging from three counts of great bodily harm by a vehicle (under the influence of alcohol or drugs), fleeing the scene of an accident, failure to render aid and a stop sign traffic violation.

Bollema

Blake Bollema, who was 31 at the time of the crash, also was charged with DWI, second offense.

Bollema’s sentencing hearing will be held at 3 p.m. on Jan. 10 at the Eddy County Courthouse in Carlsbad. By pleading no contest, Bollema waives his right to a jury trial and other rights including the right to confront witnesses who have testified against him.

According to online records, Bollema’s attorney is Gary C. Mitchell of Ruidoso.

Police say the crash occurred around 11 p.m. on July 2 at U.S. 285 and 13th Avenue in Artesia when Bollema collided head-on with the family’s SUV.

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Three occupants in the vehicle were treated at a hospital in Artesia and released. The occupants who sustained serious injuries were the mother, an 8-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, police say. They were airlifted to Lubbock, Texas, with critical injuries, police say.

The New Mexico State Police Crash Reconstruction Unit was called to assist during the investigation. While talking to Bollema after he returned to the scene, officers smelled alcohol on his breath and observed signs of impairment, the report stated.

Officers attempted to conduct sobriety tests on Bollema but he refused all tests. Bollema was arrested and subsequently refused to submit to a breath or blood test to determine the alcohol content in his body, police say.

State police officers then obtained a search warrant to collect a blood sample from Bollema.

Online court records show that Bollema’s first aggravated DWI was tried in the Fifth Judicial District Court in Roswell in 2007, but the case was dismissed by the prosecutor. The online records also show that in 2008 Bollema pleaded guilty/no contest in the same court to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Community News reporter Timothy P. Howsare can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or vistas@rdrnews.com.