Police: Drunk driver charged in wrong-way crash on I-25

Posted at: 12/19/2013 10:54 AM
Updated at: 12/19/2013 5:49 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Joe Salazar, 52, faces charges of aggravated DWI in a wrong-way crash.
Joe Salazar, 52, faces charges of aggravated DWI in a wrong-way crash.

A Santa Fe man faces drunk driving charges after going the wrong way on I-25 and causing a crash that sent three other people to the hospital.

“It's just atrocious,” Santa Fe Police Department Spokesperson Michelle Dosher said. “The cars are both mangled and to think that everybody survived and that they were able to walk out of the hospital, the victims last night, it's unimaginable.”

Police say 52-year-old Joe Salazar not only drove drunk, but ended up going the wrong way on northbound I-25.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that to do that, someone must have been seriously impaired.

“That individual not only shouldn't have been driving, they shouldn't have been walking down the street they were so intoxicated. The problem is in how citizens in our state have a relationship with alcohol and how they treat alcohol,” MADD Executive Director Ben Lewinger said.

Salazar hit a black pickup with three passengers inside. They were all brought to the hospital. Inside Salazar’s car, police say they found an empty fifth of vodka. But before the crash happened, police were already out looking for a green Dodge Stratus like Salazar’s.

“We did have a call into the state's drunk busters hotline, I'm not sure what the timeframe was, but reporting that this driver was driving erratically and possibly drunk,” Westervelt said.

Tonight, Salazar is still in the hospital, but he’s expected to survive. The other passengers are back at home. But some say last night’s events should be a wake-up call.

“Here we have three people that are injured, but when you think about their families, their loved ones, it quickly expands to dozens of New Mexicans that their holidays are ruined basically because of one person's decision,” Lewinger said.