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Family distraught after fatal officer-involved wreck

Kasia Gregorczyk and KOB.com Web Staff
May 18, 2017 06:45 PM

PERALTA, N.M. -- By Thursday, it was hard to tell a fatal accident occurred on Molina Road near State Road 47 in Peralta. The scene has been cleared, but the effects of a life lost are still being felt.

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Los Lunas police resource officer Alfred Torrez responded to a shots-fired call near Valencia Elementary School on Wednesday when he collided with 69-year-old Robin Arthun's car. Torrez thought Arthun was yielding to him but instead ended up t-boning Arthun.

KOB spoke to Arthun's partner on the phone. She was inside the house that Arthun headed toward. She's distraught but confirmed three grandchildren were in the car – two 6-year-old boys and a 17-year-old girl. They are all recovering from minor injuries.

Neighbors couldn't miss hearing the crash. KOB spoke to one of the first witnesses on scene.

"It's not uncommon for shots to be fired around Albuquerque and the surrounding areas, so we just thought, you know, 'Was that a shotgun?' witness James Longworth said. "And then we heard the screams. We ran out to offer any kind of assistance that we could. Everybody was out of the car except for the older gentleman, who was in the driver seat, slumped over between the two front … kind of in the center console area."

Torrez has been in law enforcement for 33 years with no major incidents. He was retired and working for the school district. State police will work with the district attorney's office to determine if any charges will be filed.

"He's a well-known figure, yes," Longworth said. "In fact, when I was telling the story to somebody else, they said, 'I waved at him not even an hour before this happened.'"

Meanwhile, the Valencia County Sheriff's Office revealed more information about the call Torrez responded to when the crash happened. Deputies say some middle school students were doing a community project along De Hann Loop when a man, Martin Erickson, fired a shot near the children and drove off.

Deputies say Erickson drove a stolen car recklessly to get away from them and tried to get rid of his gun.

Authorities issued a warrant for Erickson's arrest. If you know where he is, give the Valencia County Sheriff's Office a call at (505) 866-2400.

Credits

Kasia Gregorczyk and KOB.com Web Staff

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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