Driver charged with DWI in Gallup parade crash




  • In US
  • 2022-08-05 19:15:00Z
  • By Albuquerque Journal, N.M.

Aug. 5-A man is charged with driving while intoxicated after police say he drove an SUV through a parade Thursday evening and injured 15 people - including two Gallup police officers - during the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Centennial Celebration.

Jeff Irving, 33, is charged with DWI, open container, driving with a revoked license, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, one count of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily harm and fourteen counts of leaving the scene of an accident.

Authorities say Irving, who is from Pinedale, had one prior DWI conviction on his record and his license had been revoked. He has been booked into the McKinley County Detention Center.

New Mexico State Police Lt. Mark Soriano said fifteen people, including two Gallup Police officers who initially tried to stop the vehicle, were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

"At this time, there is no reason to suspect this crime was motivated by hate. In addition, no shots were fired during this incident," he said. "Contrary to rumors circulating on social media, there were no fatalities in this incident."

Soriano said around 7:50 p.m. Gallup police were told people were drinking alcohol inside a brown Chevrolet Tahoe parked along the parade route, near South Seventh Street and West Coal Avenue.

Soriano said as officers approached the SUV, Irving took off east toward the parade.

"The officers, who were still on foot, attempted to stop the driver but were unsuccessful. Both officers were injured," he said. "The Tahoe continued eastbound... toward parade participants while officers attempted to move spectators out of the Tahoe's path."

Soriano said the Tahoe went east on Historic Highway 66 and "suddenly turned south and struck a parked vehicle." He said Irving then backed into a State Police vehicle before officers detained three people from the SUV.

Soriano said the two passengers, a 23-year-old man and a 29-year-old man were taken to the Gallup Detox Center.

According to a statement of probable cause filed in McKinley County Magistrate Court:

Irving initially told State Police he had not been drinking.

"I explained to Mr. Irving that I could smell an odor of alcohol coming from his person," according to court records.

Irving then told police he had drank a couple cans of beer about three hours earlier but did not say what kind of beer or how big the cans were. Irving failed multiple sobriety tests before he took a breathalyzer and blew a 0.24, three times the state's presumed level of intoxication.

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