Suspect in street racing crash outside of Taco Bus reaches plea deal

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A teenager is accused of racing drunk and crashing his car into a group of people standing in line at the Taco Bus on Central. Now, Abraham Alvarez is avoiding any more time behind bars. 

Judge Joseph Montano says Alvarez is lucky in more ways than one.

“Speeding and road racing, there are tragic consequences that we see in our community every few weeks,” said Montano. 

Back in July, Alvarez crashed his car on Central, barreling into a line of people standing near the taco truck.

Alvarez is lucky Damon Gerhardt survived.

“That night set in motion one of the hardest times of our lives and of our children’s lives,'” said Damon Gerhardt, crash victim. 

He described what happened through his wife’s eyes.

“Lying helplessly on the ground herself, she had to watch others care for me from a distance while I myself lay unconscious in a pool of my own blood,” said Damon. 

The massive internal injuries required multiple life-saving surgeries. He says it’s still difficult to walk, and he suspects he will deal with health problems for the rest of his life.

“My wife and I are very hopeful that this can be an effective lesson for Mr. Alvarez early enough in his life to help avoid making additional wrong choices,” Damon said. 

“A lot of times people in their position are wanting to see greater consequences than what we have here,” said Judge Montano. “You’re also very lucky that the state is being so generous.”

No prison time was given – three years of supervised probation for Alvarez, who pleaded guilty to reckless driving causing great bodily harm.

His defense noted how they feel about Gerhardts:

“Clear that we are very thankful that the victims in this case were so forgiving.”

Lucky and a lesson learned.

“We are hopeful that he will work hard at becoming a strong, positive contributor to the same wonderful community that has rushed to my family’s aide,” said Damon. 

They hope this is what it took to put Alvarez on a road to better choices.

“I hope to never see you in front of me again,” said Montano. 

During his three years of supervised probation, Alvarez will have to complete a safe driving course, and educate the youth about the dangers of speeding.

The early allegations claimed he was drunk. There is no mention or evidence of that in the plea deal. 

Alvarez did a couple of months in MDC after a judge ruled he was too dangerous to be out on the street.