Man accepts plea deal in deadly speeding crash
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – “Speeding Has A Name” is part of a city-wide campaign to stop speeding in the metro after several deadly crashes. Erika Chavez became the face of that campaign after she was killed in 2020 during a speeding crash.
On Wednesday, the man behind that crash was in court again.
Now, Chavez’s family is one step closer to justice for their loved one, but they’re still going to have to wait just a little longer.
It was the first day the family of Erika Chavez saw Jose Ortiz-Munoz in person after he ran a red light and caused a crash that killed her. They were there when he admitted to the deadly crash.
Ortiz-Munoz took a plea deal in this case, he’s facing a charge of vehicular homicide. He originally pleaded not guilty, but on Wednesday he changed that to no contest.
As part of the deal, Ortiz-Munoz could face up to four years in prison. If this case had gone to trial, he would’ve faced up to six years.
Chavez’s family said they’re sad it didn’t go to trial, but the plea deal was their best bet for Ortiz-Munoz to serve time.
In court Wednesday, Ortiz-Munoz didn’t talk besides entering his new plea, but his lawyer said his client was pretty set on taking the deal.
“Your honor, I often struggle to answer that question. But I’ve conferred with Mr. Ortiz-Munoz, and he assures me that it is in his best interest,” Public Defender Graham Dumas said.
A sentencing hearing is expected for some time in January 2024.
It’s still unclear how much time Judge Bruce Fox will sentence him to, but the state asked for a three-hour session to allow Chavez’s family members to share their statements.