By Darrell Todd Maurina
Elida police captured a truck driver wanted in connection with an early Tuesday crash south of Portales that killed a 2-week-old girl.
Ninth Judicial District Attorney Brett Carter said Brian Moshier, 40, believed to be from Roswell, was arrested on charges of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of an intoxicating liquor, leaving the scene of an accident involving great bodily harm and tampering with evidence.
The charges carry a maximum of 13 1/2 years in prison, Carter said.
The infant’s parents told police the truck driver appeared to be disoriented and smelled of alcohol at the crash scene before fleeing on foot.
Moshier was captured about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday after Elida police received a phone tip.
According to state police reports, Moshier was driving a recently-unloaded cattle truck southwest on U.S. 70 between Elida and Portales about 3 a.m. Tuesday when his truck struck the back of a compact car traveling in the same direction that contained Heriberto and Ruth Martinez and their infant daughter.
The infant was ejected from the vehicle.
Carter said he did not know where the Martinezes lived.
Carter and Capt. Oscar Gonzales of the New Mexico State Police said their offices will aggressively pursue the case.
“Most of the people in the law enforcement community are just shocked it was a 2-week-old baby,” Carter said. “Capt. Gonzales and I have worked cases for 16 years, and in talking with him, with the truck driver who was asked to give assistance to the child and took off running instead, it basically shows to us that the truck driver has no regard for the welfare of the child.”
Carter said his office can prosecute alcohol charges even without a blood or breath test.
“This is almost 20 hours later so obviously the blood or breath test is almost useless,” Carter said. “We have to rely on the witnesses and we have several witnesses at the scene who smelled alcohol on the driver of the semi truck and he exhibited symptoms of impairment.”
In his report, New Mexico State Police Officer Lance Bateman said numerous beer bottles were found around the semi.
“It appeared the driver pulled the beers out of the box and threw them in an attempt to disassociate them with himself or the semi,” Bateman wrote.
Bateman said in his report that the parents tried and failed to get help from the driver, who ran south from the scene of the crash into an empty prairie.
“Mr. Martinez stated that he approached the semi driver in an attempt to get help. Mr. Martinez stated that the driver of the semi smelled of an alcoholic beverage and seemed disoriented,” Bateman wrote.