Killed Walking Legally in the Crosswalk

Defendant Alvaro E. Perez is scheduled for trial at Metro Court August 6th on charges stemming from his killing of Julie Westfall at the intersection of Eubank and Constitution NE on March 8, 2020.

The pending bench trial in the courtroom of Judge Brittany Maldonado Malott is the result of Mr. Perez killing Ms. Westphal with his lifted, high-profile GMC Sierra pickup while she was legally in the crosswalk trying to get across Eubank NE. On a clear October Sunday morning last year, Mr. Perez turned right westbound from Constitution from a stopped position into the middle lane of Eubank northbound, ostensibly because his GMC Sierra pickup is so big, striking and killing Ms. Westfall in that middle northbound lane.

From APD crash report/investigation

In an interview at the time with investigating officers, Mr. Perez “stated he did not see the pedestrian when he pulled up, nor did he see a pedestrian walking in the crosswalk when he made the right turn.”

APD investigators and Alvaro Perez’ GMC Sierra truck, from Elise Kaplan Albuquerque Journal story, March 9, 2020. Photo: Adolphe Pierre-Louis

During that same interview, Mr. Perez explained that his truck has a “‘Pro Comp’ six-inch life…and ’24 inch by 37 inch’ tires.” As seen in the photo above, Perez’ truck also has dark tint on its back window; more importantly, the truck has what he referred to as “‘a little film'” on the front windshield, “but it was ‘factory,'” he reported.

Mr. Perez, who is not a stranger to court proceedings, faces trial next week on the following charges:

  1. Careless Driving (Jail sentence up to 90 days and fine up to $300)
  2. Failure to keep a proper lookout (Jail sentence up to 90 days and/or fine up to $500)
  3. Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk ($25 fine)
  4. Failure to comply with requirements of sun-screening material on windshield and windows ($50 fine)

The scant extent of these possible sentences and fines for killing somebody is, of course, troubling; such statutory weakness has long been argued as a major contributing factor in our absurdly disproportionate pedestrian death/injury rates. Meanwhile, while Mr. Perez goes on trial next week, the issue of just why the hell lifted trucks are legal on our roads in the first place doesn’t appear to be getting legally or legislatively addressed any time soon.

One wonders how many people will be killed directly or indirectly because of these monstrosities, and these legal/legislative limitations, in the meantime.

2 thoughts on “Killed Walking Legally in the Crosswalk

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