Albuquerque police arrest semi-truck driver for serious motorcycle crash

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 60-year-old semi-truck driver is in jail, facing charges by Albuquerque police for allegedly hitting two motorcyclists while high.

Just before 10 p.m. Monday, a semi-truck reportedly tried turning at the intersection of Carlisle and Claremont. However, the truck hit two oncoming motorcycles that it allegedly failed to yield to.

Medics took the motorcyclists to the hospital in critical condition. One of them reportedly suffered a leg injury that may require amputation while the other had extensive head injuries.

Police talked to the driver, 60-year-old Michel Cartagena. They reportedly found him shaken and fidgety and speaking unintelligibly. Cartagena allegedly told police, “I was turning, I just couldn’t stop,” but denied being involved in the crash.

Officers say he admitted to using various prescribed medications and blamed the crash on being tired. He also denied consuming alcohol and/or drugs but reportedly performed poorly in sobriety tests.

Then, officers searched his truck and allegedly found paraphernalia, lighters and “a small, white, crystal-like substance” in his pocket. They tested the substance, which they say came back positive for cocaine.

Police charged Cartagena with DUI leading to a crash resulting in great bodily harm. He also faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia and failing to yield before completing a turn.

He will appear in court Wednesday.