Husband and wife killed by drunk driver, police say
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GRANTS, N.M. — Grants police said a local couple was killed Wednesday night when a drunk driver collided with their vehicle during a chase while driving nearly 80 miles per hour – 50 over the limit.
The man’s two young daughters were in the car and close family friends told KOB 4 they are in critical condition at an Albuquerque hospital as of Thursday.
Rey Heredia, 34, and his wife Alexis Heredia, 28, died in the crash, likely on impact, police said. Rey’s two children are Alora, 10, and Alana, 6, who were about to begin 5th and 1st grade respectively at Mount Taylor Elementary School, Grants Cibola County School District officials confirmed to KOB 4.
Thousands in the community are heartbroken.
“We were supposed to get old together. We took a big loss, definitely,” Amos Peña said of his childhood friend Rey. “Just the beautiful soul that he was, that dude had patience like no other. Patience and love.”
Melody Maestas said she helped raise Rey.
“I considered him as my own son. It’s just so unreal that God took him this soon. It’s truly a mother’s nightmare,” she said. “He was just one in a million.”
Close family friend Keshia Gurule shared how she’s remembering her close friend Alexis.
“She was always just so accepting and so loving and never complained about anything,” Gurule said. “They were just amazing.”
The two girls are expected to be under the care of their mother.
“His little girls are super, super cute,” Peña said. “They are really going to miss their daddy.”
Close family friends said the family was just driving home after dinner and a movie late Wednesday night.
Police said a Cibola County man, Tyrone Apachito, 31, is now under arrest after driving drunk and causing the crash.
Officers said they first saw him that night when he sped past them driving the wrong way.
They said they chased him, often seeing him driving into oncoming traffic, driving as fast as 88 miles per hour, swerving and nearly crashing into many vehicles, including those of three officers.
Officers said sometime after 9:20 p.m., Apachito crashed into the Heredias’ vehicle and two others at the intersection of Roosevelt and Elm.
Shortly before the crash, they estimated he was going around 76 miles per hour. The speed limit signs posted in the area show it’s a 30 miles per hour zone.
There was a small memorial Thursday afternoon at the crash site as people were leaving messages, flowers and candles.
Officers arrested Apachito at the scene. Records show he was arrested twice before for DWI, including one conviction. After the most recent arrest, which was in May, the conditions of his release included not drinking alcohol.
“Our prayers and our hearts go out to the family and those impacted by this terrible tragedy,” Grants Police Department Chief Jeff Marez told KOB 4.
Now family members and loved ones will try to move on.
“The two little girls, they didn’t deserve this,” Maestas said. “They’re fighting for their lives right now and it’s just so uncalled for.”