Police: Driver on meth seriously injured panhandler in crash

December 30, 2018

While attempting to flee from officers, a Santa Fe driver on methamphetamine struck and severely injured a panhandler with his pickup Thursday night and caused a multivehicle crash, city police say.

Following the incident, William Roy Tyrell Garrett, 34, was arrested on suspicion of five counts, including aggravated driving while under the influence of meth, according to a police report. Garrett was transported to the Santa Fe County jail and was being held Friday in lieu of bond.

Santa Fe police Lt. Jose Gonzales said that when Garrett made an abrupt right turn onto Old Pecos Trail from St. Michael’s Drive, he hit a median where a 52-year-old man was panhandling.

After striking the median and the panhandler, Garrett’s pickup was propelled into another vehicle, Gonzales said.

According to a police report, Garrett’s truck then landed in a lane with oncoming traffic and collided with several other cars.

The panhandler suffered life-threatening injuries, according to the report, and was in critical care at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center on Friday.

Drivers and passengers in other vehicles struck in the crash were unharmed, Gonzales said.

Garrett, who was treated at Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center, suffered no major injuries. A police officer who went to visit Garrett in the hospital reported the suspect was in a hospital bed with a neck brace, was fidgeting and was clenching his hands.

Garrett told the officer he recently was taken off Suboxone to treat drug addiction. According to the report, Garrett said he had started using methamphetamine and had last used the drug around 7 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to DWI and reckless driving charges, the report said Garrett faces charges for not wearing a seat belt, having an expired registration for his 2000 white Chevrolet pickup and having no proof of insurance.

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