AP NEWS

Santa Fe woman pleads guilty to vehicular homicide in 2016 DWI rollover

February 14, 2019

A Santa Fe woman charged with vehicular homicide after a 2016 crash near Nambé that left two people dead, agreed Wednesday to a plea deal that includes a 12-year prison sentence.

Yvonne Martinez, who has a history of drunken-driving convictions, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the death of Madeline Romero. As part of a plea deal, Assistant District Attorney Blake Nichols announced that a second count of vehicular homicide for the death of Gary Trujillo and an aggravated DWI charge would be dismissed.

“The surviving family member of the other gentleman in the vehicle is now deceased,” Nichols told state District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer. “The agreement is for 12 years in prison, and my understanding is that the victim’s family is on board with that.”

Martinez, 50, had been accused of driving while intoxicated at least five times and convicted at least three times times before she drove a green Subaru Outback carrying three passengers on July 1, 2016. Outside Nambé, she swerved near mile marker 4 on N.M. 503 and rolled the vehicle onto its passenger side.

The Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy who responded to the scene found Martinez in the driver’s seat, Terry Trujillo in the front passenger seat and whiskey bottles on the ground. The two passengers in the back seat had been ejected from the vehicle. Gary Trujillo was pronounced dead at the scene, and Romero died at a hospital later that day.

Martinez and Terry Trujillo escaped with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Blood drawn from Martinez around two hours after the incident found her blood-alcohol content was 0.20, more than two times the legal limit.

At a hospital in Española a few hours after the incident, Martinez admitted to a sheriff’s deputy that she had consumed Budweiser beer and tequila before starting the car. In past court proceedings, Martinez had claimed a failure of the 2003 Outback’s power steering system contributed to the crash.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Nichols said accident reconstruction expert Stan Lundy had examined the scene and determined that the power steering was not a factor.

A sentencing hearing to determine whether Martinez is guilty of a violent felony is scheduled for Feb. 26. The outcome will determine if she will be eligible for early release before the end of her 12-year sentence, Marlowe Sommer said.