14-year-old on life support after crash

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A young girl is clinging to life after a crash in northern New Mexico, that police said an 18-year-old driver caused. Mixed in with the wreckage, was drugs.

Española Police said five people were injured in the crash, but a 14-year-old got the brunt of it. She’s on life support as her family sits with her in the hospital and investigators work to figure out what happened.

Family members and doctors at the University of New Mexico Hospital are closely monitoring 14-year-old Reina Garcia.

“She’s not conscious, she’s in a coma and her head injuries are…bad,” Joann Trujillo, Garcia’s grandmother, told KRQE News 13.

Monday afternoon, Garcia was headed with a group of friends to an after-school program in Española.

Police said it appears 18-year-old Brian Atencio was speeding when he lost control of the Mustang he was driving, swerved into a guardrail, then slammed into a pickup truck.

Atencio, his 14-year-old front passenger and two people in the pickup were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.

Garcia, who was in the backseat of Atencio’s car, was flown to UNMH, where she’s now in intensive care on life support.

“My first thoughts were my God, you’re supposed to be at the teen center, what were you doing you know with those kids?” said Trujillo.

Garcia’s grandmother and mom said they thought she was riding the bus and they don’t know the 18-year-old driver.

While they talk to her in the hospital, Garcia hasn’t been able to respond.

“I talk to her every little while I get, you know she can hear me. I tell her you heal, come back to us,” said Trujillo.

Española Police are investigating whether Atencio was on drugs or alcohol. Detectives report finding bottles of prescription drugs inside his car and smelling a strong odor of marijuana.

Garcia’s family prays she pulls through. When asked what she’ll say to her granddaughter when she wakes up, a teary-eyed Trujillo responded, “I love you of course, welcome back.”

Española police said they expect to file charges in this case pending the results of the driver’s blood test.

Reina Garcia suffered brain injuries, a broken pelvis, and a fractured arm.

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