Man who police say admitted to causing violent crash believed to be high on meth

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque police said they believe the man who admitted to causing a violent crash with a stolen car Tuesday was high on meth at the time. 

The crash seriously injured a man and a young girl in Southeast Albuquerque. 

Police said John Bearden Jr. stole an SUV, raced through neighborhoods, did not stop at a stop sign and slammed into another SUV at the intersection of San Pedro and Bell just before 8 a.m. Tuesday. 

The crash was not far from the state fairgrounds, where police said the trouble began. They said earlier that morning that’s where Bearden stole the SUV, a state government vehicle, when it was unlocked and running. 

Officers said Bearden got out and ran through multiple backyards, hiding in a shed at a house a few blocks away before giving himself up. 

Police said Bearden admitted to all of it and told them he recently relapsed on meth. Officers believe he was high on meth at the time. They ordered a blood test. 

A report police filed lists “brain bleed” for both victims. According to the report, the young girl – just 10 years old – was unconscious, unable to breathe on her own, and had multiple broken bones and liver damage. 

A Go Fund Me page for the victims states the man is the girl’s father, and he’s conscious but has a traumatic brain injury. The girl is still in the ICU and can’t breathe on her own, according to the post. 

A man who lives in a building the vehicles were hurtling toward said he heard and felt the crash. 

“I was sitting in there drinking a cup of coffee. It was kind of early, and it shook the whole building,” Randy Todisco said.

He said he saw emergency crews rushing to help the man and girl. 

“They needed to go. They were in bad, bad shape,” he said. “It scared the crap out of me.”

He said drugs are rampant in the area, and with three grandkids living with him, he’s concerned. 

“It’s a crazy, crazy place. This is the wild, wild west in this town,” Todisco said. “I’ve never seen anything like the drugs going on now, and it’s all changed in just 10 years.” 

He said Jack and Jill Park, which is just feet from his home, is a spot for drug deals. 

“They should call it ‘Meth and Heroin Park’ because there ain’t no kids come here,” Todisco said. 

Bearden’s criminal charges include multiple felonies, and he’s looking at the possibility of more than 10 years in prison. 

Prosecutors want him held in jail until his trial. A hearing on that is set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. 

In court documents, prosecutors said Bearden’s “actions make it clear that he has no regard for the safety of others.” 

The Arnold Tool, which is available to judges, shows a recommendation for him to be released with conditions.

The 37-year-old Bearden has four felony convictions, including for stealing a vehicle. He’s faced other felony charges where the state didn’t get a conviction, including for stealing a car while high on meth and for multiple assaults.

UPDATE: Judge Stanley Whitaker ruled April 10 to keep Bearden behind bars while the case proceeds.