Suspect in deadly DWI crash gets maximum sentence

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A judge handed down the maximum sentence to a man accused of driving drunk and causing a deadly crash in 2021.

Judge Cindy Leos sentenced Casino Salazar to 18 years in prison Thursday. Salazar reached a plea deal earlier this year on four charges – vehicular homicide and DWI.

Prosecutors alleged Salazar, then 19 years old, drove drunk and caused a deadly crash in November 2021. Police said Salazar was driving nearly 100 mph and ran a red light on Montgomery near Morris.

Inside Salazar’s SUV, police allegedly found open liquor bottles, marijuana and several guns. 

Meanwhile, in the other car, authorities found Kevin Barton dead.

“My son was three years old and he lost his best friend in the world. His papa, he tells me all the time, he misses his papa. He misses the tickle fights, the McDonalds. Last and most importantly, [he misses] the joy that they radiated when they were together,” said Chelsey Barton, Kevin’s daughter.

Salazar also addressed the family.

“I’m truthfully sorry. Like, I never went out thinking I was going to kill anybody but it did happen so I’m really sorry for that,” he stated.

Judge Leos pointed out Salazar’s DWI arrest in Roswell just days before the fatal crash in Albuquerque. She said a message needed to be sent that DWI won’t be tolerated before giving Salazar the maximum sentence possible.