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Artesia driver issued citations, not charged with DUI; Man had admitted drinking prior to car crash, police say

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In this still captured by a home security camera Saturday Morning, an SUV traveling east within the 1000 block of West Missouri Avenue in Artesia had just struck a mailbox post and continues toward a pickup truck, which will also hit the vehicle to the right as a result. The driver of the SUV, who can be seen in the video wearing a hoodie, was issued five citations according to the Artesia Police Department. (Submitted Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

A man who fled a scene Saturday morning after skidding past the lawn of an Artesia home and into a pickup truck, subsequently causing a chain reaction with another parked vehicle was issued five traffic citations, despite telling local police he had consumed alcohol prior to driving.

According to a uniform crash report by officer David Bailey of the Artesia Police Department, the time of the crash was at about 7:26 a.m. Saturday.

Bailey states within his report the driver of the vehicle was traveling north on South 11th Street before he turned right onto West Missouri Avenue, where he lost traction and skid into a curb. After running past the curb, the SUV rammed through a mailbox post, where the vehicle then continued past a lawn and went into the right side of a pickup truck, which was knocked into an additional vehicle.

The narrative made by police is also supplemented by footage captured by a resident’s security camera, who is also the owner of the two vehicles affected by the crash.

Police said both vehicles the SUV had come into contact with were parked and unoccupied, and that the driver of the vehicle fled the scene by turning south on 10th Street.

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Authorities said they observed heavy damage along the right side of the truck, affecting its doors, tires and portions of the truck’s bed. The other vehicle involved had sustained damage to its right tail-light assembly and rear quarter panel.

Police observed a fuel trail beginning at the intersection of South 10th Street and West Ray Avenue, approximately 528 yards from the crash.

Authorities followed the trail to a heavily damaged vehicle parked in an alley at 1006 W. Clayton Ave., just under half a mile away from the start of the fuel trail.

Police said about two hours after the time of the crash, they met with and read the Miranda rights to the driver of the vehicle, a man who was not identified by name in the report.

“(He) admitted to having crashed into (both vehicles),” Bailey stated. “(He) also admitted to having consumed alcohol prior to driving … (He) said he had not had anything to drink after getting home. Also, I could smell the odor of alcoholic beverage coming from (his) person.”

Police performed standardized field sobriety tests, which included the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), the Walk And Turn (WAT), and the One-Leg Stand (OLS).

During the HGN, police looked for a Nystagmus, an involuntary rhythmic shaking or wobbling of the eyes. Police recorded seeing only a mild instance of the shaking during one pass in the driver’s right eye.

As police performed the WAT test, the driver first told police he had no physical injuries that would limit his mobility.

“After his first test, he finally admitted to having pain in his right leg,” the report stated. “This is consistent with a mild right leg limp I observed when (he) was walking out to meet me.”

Police said the driver had been instructed on the test as well as the position he needed to be in multiple times and was unable to follow his directions, adding that the driver was “in a hurry to start.”

The officer had also observed the driver had a minor swaying when in the instructional position, and that the driver had started early at least three times.

“After successful instruction was given, (he) did not count aloud, (he) stepped on his own toes on the fourth step out, and swayed for balance,” the report stated. “(He) initially had his hands out for balance, but put them down when instructed and kept them down the rest of the test without further instruction.”

Police noted during the Walk and Turn test, the driver did not count his steps aloud, took five steps out, made an improper turn-around, and had taken six steps back.

Police said during the OLS test, he kept his hands at his side as instructed, and that the driver only “swayed mildly” during the test.

“(He) did lower his foot to only 1-2 inches off the ground, and repeated the number ‘21’ while counting,” police said. “Otherwise, I did not observe any other signs during the test.”

Police stated after the three tests, the driver was not arrested for a DUI, but was issued five traffic citations.

Multimedia-Crime reporter Trevier Gonzalez can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.