Man accused of crashing stolen government SUV appears in court

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The man accused of stealing a government SUV, causing a crash, and critically injuring another man and his daughter won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. A district court judge decided Monday that John Bearden will stay locked up until his trial.

The father and daughter injured in the crash are both responding to treatment and have a long road to recovery ahead of them, according to an update on their GoFundMe page.

Police said Bearden stole a state government car from the state fairgrounds last month, while he was high on meth.

“Obviously, this incident itself indicates that the defendant is a danger to the community, and then of course, his history of multiple felony convictions,” said Guinevere Ice, deputy district attorney.

However, that criminal history caused some confusion in court.

Bearden and his attorney said the state confused the suspect with his father, who has the same name, on multiple documents.

“All exhibits except for one, have a date of, birth date that is not the defendant’s birth date,” Bearden’s defense lawyer said. “The great bodily harm part, portion of the charges in this case, are also questionable because the state has yet to present medical evidence of great bodily harm to the occupants of the other car.”

Judge Stan Whitaker said, even if he were to question the other cases, the most recent case is what really concerns him.

“The passenger and the driver in this car, who apparently were trapped and unconscious when the officer arrived, and the medical personnel – that’s enough for the court to be concerned,” Whitaker said.

The GoFundMe for 43-year-old David Pizarro and his 10-year-old daughter Penny has raised more than $50,000 so far. Pizarro has started rehab and is slowly re-learning how to walk. Doctors have also discovered that Penny has brain function – but they will need to run more tests to see the full extent.

Until then, she remains sedated on a ventilator.

A spokesperson with the district attorney’s office told KOB 4 they stand by the decision of the judge, and will verify which prior arrests and convictions belong to Bearden, and which belong to the person with the same name. She said situations like this are rare, but do happen.