Suspect accused of crash that killed priest allowed to drive again

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The man suspected of killing a priest while street racing earlier this year will be allowed to drive a vehicle again, but only while working.

That was the ruling from a judge Wednesday following a virtual court hearing to change Manuel Soria’s conditions of release.

During the hearing, Soria’s defense attorney asked the judge to allow his client to drive for his job which involves making deliveries for a Westside eye clinic and for other essential reasons.

"All we’re asking is that he be allowed to drive for his job, for necessities of life, to go shopping, to go to a doctor’s appointment, things like that, no joyriding no driving just to cruise around. It would all be business related or to help him," said Rudolph Chavez.

Soria is facing charges including homicide by vehicle.

He’s accused of causing a crash that killed Father Graham Golden on Coors in May. Investigators believe Soria had been street racing and say he was speeding at the time.

Soria hasn’t been allowed to drive since his arrest as part of his conditions of release.

During Wednesday’s hearing, the prosecutor didn’t object to letting Soria get back behind the wheel.

"Your Honor, the state is not opposed if it’s for work purposes. I think if it’s for other purposes that gets kind of messy and hard to enforce," said Guinevere Ice.

Judge Jennifer Wernersbach agreed, allowing Soria to drive only while he’s working and not for any other reason.

"I’m ok with allowing him to make work deliveries and drive for work,” said Wernersbach. “But I agree with the state that it gets a little messy about why we’re using a car, why we’re driving, if I’m allowing him to use it for other appointments that are just unnamed kind of appointments or needs."

Soria will only be allowed to drive during his work hours and his defense attorney says he’ll keep a log of where he goes.