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Car Chase Crash Victims Names Revealed
The Española Police Department (EPD) has released the names of the victims in Wednesday’s deadly car chase and crash.
Jeannie Gutierrez, 35, from Albuquerque was the driver of a van chased by a truck Wednesday afternoon on Riverside Dr. that ended in a fatal crash at the intersection of Fairview and Railroad.
Gutierrez was pronounced dead at the scene as a result of injuries sustained after her van struck a Saturn SUV.
Jason Reddest, a passenger in the van was airlifted from the scene to an Albuquerque hospital with serious injuries. Carlos Sanchez, also a van passenger, was airlifted to Christus St. Vincent’s Hospital in Santa Fe. A third passenger, Felipe Dominguez, was released from the hospital the same day.
According to police, Gutierrez was being pursued by a black truck that fled the scene following the crash. The Saturn SUV that was struck from behind by the van was not involved in the car chase and was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time. The SUV was totaled in the accident but driver Elizabeth Maestas and passenger Maria Melendez suffered only minor injuries.
As previously reported in the Valley Daily Post, an eyewitness said she saw a van “weaving through traffic” and driving at a high rate of speed while trying to get away from a black truck. This witness and others were fairly certain there were two vans involved, one being chased and a second van that crashed into the SUV.
However, subsequent investigation revealed that the blue van that crashed into the Saturn SUV was the vehicle being chased.
EPD has now confirmed to the Valley Daily Post that the blue van Gutierrez was driving was the sole van involved in the fatal accident scenario and added that it was being aggressively chased by the black truck.
An EPD spokesman also stated that they have a suspect of who was driving the truck that reportedly caused the crash.
“We have possible suspects, and we are still looking for them,” a police spokesman said, but gave no further details because the “investigation is ongoing.”
EPD has not released a reason the truck was chasing the van but indicated the driver of the black truck may face charges of vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident, among others.
Traffic was tied up for hours Wednesday afternoon as Fairview Lane was completely closed and traffic backed up onto Riverside Drive while police investigated the scene.
Services are pending for the victim, Jeannie Gutierrez, and because she is believed to be a Santa Clara Pueblo member, information about her may or not be released to the public.