Jail guard arrested for DWI, homicide by vehicle

ESPANOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – Police have arrested a jail guard for driving drunk and killing two people last week near Española.

State police said Justin Romero admitted to drinking Thursday night.

The 26-year-old is a jail guard at the Rio Arriba County Jail. Last week, officers got a call about a two-vehicle crash on Highway 84 near Española.

Romero’s pickup was in the wrong lane and hit an oncoming car on the driver’s side.

The passenger, Leao Gurule, was ejected and both he and the driver of the car, Carlos Archuleta, were killed.

Leo is a 23-year-old originally from Española who lives in Texas. Carlos is a 45-year-old from Tierra Azul and Abiqui.

Police are still trying to piece together exactly what happened, why Romero was going the wrong way on the highway and how much alcohol may have been in his system.

They are waiting on blood results for that and are set to search both vehicles Tuesday morning.

“Now this individual that we arrested, not only does he have to deal with the criminal charges, but he also has to live with this the rest of his life that he took the lives of two people,” New Mexico State Police Sgt. Damyan Brown said.

Romero is also charged with resisting and evading an officer because he didn’t want his blood drawn and had to be restrained.

The Rio Arriba County Jail said Romero will be put on leave without pay.

This isn’t Romero’s first run-in with driving and alcohol. Last year, he was charged with having an open container in his vehicle.

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