Woman calling for tougher NM drunk driving laws appears on CNN
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We received a lot of hits last week when we posted the tragic story of Aileen Smith, the woman who was seven months pregnant and while driving with her husband in San Miguel County was hit by a suspected drunk driver in June.
Smith was rushed Christus St. Vincent’s Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe where doctors performed an emergency Cesarean-section in an effort to save her unborn baby but the child died.
State Police say the man who allegedly was in the other car has four DWI convictions on his record.
Smith has since posted an online petition calling for stiffer sentences for drunk drivers in New Mexico, which has garnered the support of Gov. Susana Martinez. (Click here to see our video of Martinez talking about the case.)
On Monday (Aug. 20), Smith appeared on CNN .
When asked if tougher laws would have prevented the accident (Hernandez already had a suspended license), Smith said, “I can only hope,” adding that “if they had actually enforced the laws that they had set out, they would have kept a lot of people from drinking and driving.”
The Albuquerque Journal picked up the story on Sunday (Aug. 19) and quoted the attorney for Hernandez saying that his client was not behind the wheel at the time of the accident.
“The centrality of the defense is whether or not Mr. Hernandez was the driver,” Ben Andrew Mondragon told the Journal. “At this point it is uncontested that another man ran from the scene, and we intend to prove that [Hernandez] was not the driver.”
Last week, Capitol Report New Mexico confirmed through the San Miguel County Detention Center (where Hernandez now sits) that the federal government’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has put a hold on Hernandez.
Does that mean that Hernandez was in the country illegally? We don’t know because numerous voice-mail messages and an e-mail to the ICE field office in El Paso (which covers New Mexico) have not been returned. Hernandez has a pretrial hearing scheduled Jan. 28 in Las Vegas, New Mexico.
As for the CNN interview with Aileen Smith, here it is. It runs a little more than 5 minutes:
New Mexico has history of repeat drunk drivers getting involved in deadly accidents. The governor’s office cites a statistic from the Department of Transportation that says 60 percent of DWI fatalities involve repeat offenders. For example, in 2010 an Albuquerque man with three prior DWI convictions was involved in an accident in Santa Fe that killed two teenaged girls.
Smith’s online petition can be found at http://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-dimitri-stronger-dwi-laws