Home News Local News Artesia man to serve two years in prison for DUI crash

Artesia man to serve two years in prison for DUI crash


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

CARLSBAD — An Artesia man who pleaded no contest recently in the injuries of six people in July 2016 has been sentenced.


Blake Bollema was facing numerous charges ranging from 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.

He was also charged with DWI second offense.

After hearing from both the prosecution and defense, District Judge Lisa Riley sentenced him to 10 years, eight of those years were suspended, which means he’ll be serving two years in prison.

He will be on supervised probation and Riley also ordered him for a drug and alcohol screening and completing a treatment program.

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“You will still be able to work,” she said. “All the fines will be waived and fees will be imposed,” she added.

His hearing lasted nearly two hours at the Eddy County Courthouse.

Artesia Fire Marshal Brenden Harvey, who was a fireman and emergency medical technician at the time of the crash, told of what the accident scene looked like during the late-night hours of July 2 as he and other emergency responders were called to the intersection of 13th Street and U.S. 285 where Bollema’s pickup truck collided head-on with an SUV.

Harvey stated of how he and other emergency personnel checked on the family in the SUV and how they had to remove them and were treating multiple injuries. He said that some family members had to be flown by chopper from the crash scene to Lubbock for medical treatment.

Once Harvey stepped down, Shelly Granado told Bollema and others in the courtroom that the wreck has changed the lives of those who were riding in their SUV that night. She even presented a photo album that had pictures of her family.

“My kids will always remember that horrible night,” she said.

Ariane Navarrette, the attorney for the prosecution, then outlined how the family had gone to Roswell that night to watch a movie and then came home when they were struck by a pickup truck driven by Bollema.

She said Bollema was drinking at an Artesia restaurant and then he and some friends went to Circle K and bought some beer and liquor and then proceeded to head north on 13th Street without stopping at the intersection with U.S. 285.

She then played some calls made to the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center of witnesses describing the scene to dispatchers.

Navarrette then said Bollema placed a call to a friend asking for a ride. She then said that Bollema denied drinking that night.

“This is what Blake Bollema walked away from,” she said while showing pictures of the crash scene. “Blake Bollema walked away without an injury.”

She then pointed out that officers checked Bollema’s blood-alcohol content several hours after the crash and it was .08, which is the legal intoxication limit in New Mexico.

Defense Attorney Gary Mitchell then presented Bollema’s side to the court and he called three people to testify on Bollema’s behalf. Mitchell also presented some letters to Judge Riley stating how Bollema was trying to be a responsible person and a family man.

“These cases are far more complex than we believe,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell then showed a series of Google photos of the intersection and he presented a different side of the case saying there are no lights at the intersection.

“This intersection has 14 lanes that come in,” he said. “There are no streetlights (and) U.S. Highway 285 is elevated 5 to 6 feet higher,” Mitchell added.

Mitchell argued that Bollema wasn’t the first to leave the scene due to problems that impacted the driver’s side door once the crash took place.

Mitchell then questioned where the impact occurred and that evasive action was taken by the SUV. Mitchell said it looked like Bollema checked to see if the intersection was clear and that’s when he decided to turn onto U.S. 285.

Mitchell said lighting and design at the intersection may have made a difference.

Bollema addressed the Granados, “I’ve been praying for the family every day,” he said.

He also told the court that he didn’t see their SUV and that he was trying to help one of his passengers who was injured in the crash.

“You are really lucky that you didn’t kill somebody,” Riley said. “There is so much pain in the courtroom on both sides,” she added.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.

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