Kirstin King of Los Lunas is scheduled to be sentenced December 6th in the courtroom of Albuquerque District Judge Jennifer Wernersbach, after King eventually pled No Contest on a charge of Homicide by Vehicle (DWI) in the killing of Angelia Brooks, who I believe was also known as Angela Sue Brooks,
Brooks was killed by King on February 28, 2021 on East Central Ave near Pennsylvania St. as she attempted to walk back across Central when a drunk Mr. King slammed into her at approximately 60 mph (no braking was noted by investigators), causing “non-survivable separation of the upper and lower body.” Mr. King then fled the scene, driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of Central before trying to escape south on Alcazar and through the nearby area.
King was followed in his attempted escape by the courageous driver Jesus Parker, who went to the trouble of tracking King down to where the assailant stopped on Charleston SE just south of Bell SE. Here’s an excerpt from the lead investigator’s supplemental report regarding what Mr. Parker did:
Mr. Parker and the officers continue looking around, spotting Mr. King and his passenger, Saul Orozco, at Bell and Chama SE nearby. Both King and Orozco are detained, and it’s eventually determined that Mr. King was driving. It’s not definitive, but appears at least somewhat likely Kirstin King would have successfully fled and become yet another unfound ABQ hit-and-run killer of a pedestrian if not for the persistence and courage of Jesus Parker.
Also remarkable in this case is both the extent of police investigation, including use of drone footage and many other means to determine Mr. King’s driving speed at time of impact, and the downplaying of Ms. Brooks’ technically illegal mid-block crossing (aka: “jaywalking”). Both components of the investigation/report are to applauded, at least by me, after reading so many pedestrian fatality reports overly focused on minor fault of the walker versus major criminality on the part of the murderous driver.
Of course there are several damn good reasons for this level of focus on Mr. King. Drunk driver trying to flee after, for lack of a more delicate terminology, basically cutting someone in half would raise the ire of even the most hardened person/officer/institution. Then there’s Mr. King’s priors pertaining to his continued inability to drive without being drunk.
Specifically in this case, Mr. King was also charged with Leaving the Scene, DWI (2nd offense, but he’s actually had more than two) and Driving While License Revoked for, you guessed it, a prior DWI. Looking at the sentencing statues for Homicide by Vehicle 66-8-101 (A) & (C), as a 2nd Degree Felony (nine years) and what I see as at least two priors in the past ten years (the cutoff time window for adding four years per DWI), it looks like Judge Wernersbach should sentence Kirstin King to 9+4+4 = 17 years. Anything less given the circumstances would be very, very wrong.
Conversely, there are folks to be commended amid this horror. Jesus Parker went to the trouble and risk to track down the killer. Actually, there was another driver who also tried to follow Mr. King, who after losing sight of King went back to the scene and gave officers information on what he saw. Daniel Lugo is that gentleman’s name and he is also thanked for his time and effort. Then there’s APD. The Department’s efforts leading to hopefully what will be getting Kirstin King off the streets for a long time are apparent throughout the crash and supplemental reports.
It would be remiss to forget the victim here, especially as the reason for this whole series looking at 2021 walking fatalities is the overwhelming tendency to forget them. Angelia (Angela Sue) Brooks evidently has relatives living here in town, and our thoughts go to them along with memory of Ms. Brooks.
Finally, yeah…here’s another case of a pedestrian fatality on East Central. Heck, Ms. Brooks was killed only a couple of blocks from the prior installment in this series. Meanwhile, a recent study by researchers Esther Bia and Nicholas Ferenchak found that the stretch of Central Ave. transformed through construction and implementation of Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART), i.e., Nob Hill and environs, has seen a noticeable increase in traffic safety across all modes of travel. Reporting findings to the local Greater Albuquerque Active Transportation Committee back in June, Drs. Bia and Ferenchak noted the following (as reported in the unofficial minutes as there was no quorum):
“Results: Collision Counts with before, during, and after
o Decrease overall in collisions of about 8.2%
o Control segments saw an average decrease of 6.1%
o ABQ as a whole saw an increase of 7.2%
o Collisions were lowest on Central Ave. during construction
- Heat map of collisions showed the decreases in crashes, however, there was an outlier at San
Mateo, where there was an increase.
- Results: Collision Counts. All modes Fatal or Seriously injured
o 64.9% decrease on the ART segments
o 5.7% decrease on the control segments
o 5.9% decrease on alternatives
o 18.4% decrease across the city
- Results: Collisions. All Pedestrian collisions
o 9.3% increase on ART segments. However, all of ABQ had a 31.4% increase
Although increased, it did not increase as much as the rest of ABQ
o Lomas to 10th had the greatest decrease
o San Mateo to Louisiana was again an outlier
- Results: Collisions. Pedestrian Collisions Fatal and Serious Injury
o 27.3% decrease on ART segments
o 13.3% increase on control segments
- 14.5% increase for the rest of ABQ
- o Note fatal pedestrian collision counts were small
- Results: Collision Rates. All modes
o Rates for all collisions on ART segments had an average increase of 32.6%
o 20.9% increase for the control segments
- Results: Collision Rates. Fatal and Serious Injury Collision Rates for all Modes
o 57.1% decrease on the ART segments
o 28.6% increase on control segments
o A BRT system can improve traffic safety
o 8.2% decrease in collision counts on ART segments
o 7.2% increase across the city and an only 6.1% decrease on control segments
o ART segments saw strong results for all fatal and serious counts (-64.9%), pedestrian
fatal and serious counts (-27.3%), and all fatal and serious rates (-57.1%)
o Pedestrian collision counts increased 31.4% across Albuquerque and increase 26.7%
on control segments, however, they increased only 9.3% on ART segments
o Pedestrian fatal and serious counts had a strong decrease (-27.3%) on ART segments
while increasing 13.3% on control segments and increasing 14.5% across Albuquerque.
- Concluding thoughts
o Think that roads that are narrower saw the most positive results
ART is traffic calming
o Atrisco to Lomas, San Mateo to Louisiana, and Louisiana to Tramway had increases for
collisions, pedestrian collisions, and fatal and serious pedestrian injuries
More research should be done to understand why this is happening on these
So while Nob Hill’s section of East Central has been made safer, the International District stretch continues to be the least safe in town. With each death, it becomes more and more clear that an A.R.T.-level transformation in traffic engineering has to occur along Central through the International District. Anything less is willfully discriminatory.