Woman charged in fatal Paseo crash takes plea deal

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former nurse agreed to a plea deal for a horrific crash in March of 2021.

58-year-old Donna Helgesen admitted she was driving westbound on Paseo del Norte at more than 100 mph, east of Eubank. She slammed into the back of another car. The driver of the other car, 62-year-old Rick Rivera, died after his car burst into flames.

The passenger in his car suffered serious injuries but survived.

“It was determined based on the air bag control module that she was traveling 106 miles per hour,” said prosecutor Guinevere Ice.

Helgesen is a former nurse and health care administrator. As part of the plea deal, she faces up to seven years in prison.

Judge Stan Whitaker accepted the plea deal. Helgesen’s sentencing hearing will happen following a pre-sentencing report and investigation.