Home News Local News Man charged in Christmas Eve crash to remain held without bond

Man charged in Christmas Eve crash to remain held without bond

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Roswell Fire Department personnel work to extract Dominic Canales-Flores from a Honda Pilot on Dec. 24 following a two-vehicle collision that left one woman dead. Canales-Flores faces multiple criminal counts in connection with the crash, including vehicular homicide. (Daily Record File Photo)

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A local judge has ruled that a 20-year-old man charged in connection with a deadly Christmas Eve head-on collision will remain incarcerated until his trial.

Dominic Canales-Flores (Submitted Photo)

Judge Thomas Lilley of New Mexico’s Fifth Judicial District Court on Tuesday granted the District Attorney’s motion to hold Dominic Canales-Flores of Roswell without bond until the conclusion of his trial or unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Canales-Flores, on the morning of Dec. 24, according to court documents, was driving at speeds as high as 100 mph when he struck a Chevrolet SUV in the area of North Union Avenue and West College Boulevard.

Devany Brunk, 31, of Portales, who was a passenger in the SUV that was struck, died from injuries she sustained.

Brunk’s mother, who was the driver of the SUV at the time, and Canales-Flores both sustained injuries and had to be airlifted to a Texas hospital for treatment.

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According to court documents, Canales-Flores faces charges of: homicide by vehicle; great bodily harm by vehicle; reckless driving; speeding; driving on roadways laned for traffic; accident involving damage to vehicles; failure to give immediate notice of accidents; driver must be licensed; possession of alcoholic beverages in open containers in a motor vehicle; as well as two counts of vehicles entering stop or yield intersections, failure to stop or yield.

A Chaves County deputy had been following Canales-Flores in the moments before the collision, attempting to conduct a vehicle stop. Following the accident, officers found several bottles of alcohol in the Honda Pilot Canales-Flores was driving.

In a statement of findings filed after Tuesday’s hearing, Lilley wrote that the court considered several possible conditions that could have allowed Canales-Flores to be released and reasonably ensure the safety of the public, such as placing him on house arrest, releasing him to the custody of a third party and installing a GPS monitor.

Lilley though said none of those restrictions would prevent Canales-Flores from engaging in dangerous behavior that could jeopardize the safety of others.

“Under the particular circumstances of this case, none of these conditions, separately or in combination, would sufficiently protect the safety of the community because they do not provide an enforceable means to prevent behavior endangering any person or the community,” Lilley wrote in the statement.

The decision came following nearly three hours of testimony from several witnesses including a Chaves County Sheriff’s deputy, investigators who were at the scene of the crash, a woman whose vehicle Canales-Flores struck moments before the head-on collision and Brunk’s mother, who was in the SUV with her daughter at the time it was struck.

In her closing argument at Tuesday’s hearing, Emily Fry, deputy district attorney, said Canales-Flores’ alleged actions showed a disregard for the safety of others and that his release would be a significant risk to the public.

She recounted that on the day of the crash Canales-Flores made a series of decisions, including possibly consuming alcohol, traveling at high rates of speed through traffic, striking a vehicle and not stopping for law enforcement, all of which she said culminated in the crash.

“Your honor, that day he put the public in great jeopardy and he cost a woman her daughter. He cost that woman her life,” Fry said.

Michael Gomez, Canales-Flores’ defense attorney, said that none of the testimony offered by witnesses at the hearing proves Canales-Flores would be a danger to the community and conditions of release could be set to ensure the public’s safety.

“I think what is required to be proven to the state falls woefully low of that burden your honor,” he said.

Gomez said testimony provided by one of Canales-Flores’ aunts at the hearing, along with his network of family in Roswell and lack of known criminal history in New Mexico, and several letters of reference provided by a co-worker and family friends show that his client is not a danger and would abide by conditions of release.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301 or breakingnews@rdrnews.com.