Crash victim’s family reacts to police video

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque police say lapel video from officers shows the man who caused a deadly wreck lying about it over and over.

KRQE News 13 spoke with the victims’ family about what that suspected drunk driver did when police confronted him.

Family and friends are still gathered at the University of New Mexico Hospital to support the crash victims. Wednesday, for the first time, a family member saw police video of the crash. She now has questions for the suspect.

Police lapel shows a traffic stop for speeding along I-40 Sunday afternoon. When the officer got out of his car, things quickly took a turn.

Albuquerque police said Ofimiano Herrera took off, and the officer lost sight of the white Nissan. Then, less than a minute later, a rollover at Coors and Quail was called out over the radio.

“God just to think that’s the moment he killed …” said Yadira Varela, as she watched lapel video of the officer trying to find Herrera.

Varela saw the video for the first time Wednesday after police released it to the public. Her uncle, Oscar Almeida Sr., was killed in the crash. His wife, son, and son’s girlfriend were rushed to the hospital from the scene.

Officers said Herrera ran even after the crash. “Why are you running?” An officer is heard on police lapel questioning Herrera. Herrera repeatedly denied causing it, and being in a car.

“Are you the one that wrecked the car?” the officer asks. “Be honest with me, you the one that wrecked the car?”

“No. I haven’t been in a car, we were just pan-handling together,” Herrera added, motioning to a woman nearby.

Watching Herrera’s reaction became too much for Varela.

“It’s just hard to see,” she said. “It’s just so surreal. It’s hard to believe people have such a disregard and don’t care who they hurt.”

Lapel shows witnesses point out Herrera as the one who caused the crash.

“He’s the one that got out of the car,” one witness told police.

The officer continued to question Herrera. “You’re not going to tell me the truth?”

Herrera responded, “I haven’t done nothing!”

Police believe Herrera was drunk.

“I don’t know why he tried to run, he should’ve just stopped,” said Varela. “And I just would like to know why, why didn’t he care that he hurt somebody?”

Varela said Oscar Sr. would always warn family about the dangers of drunk driving.

“He used to always lecture my cousins before they went out,” she said. “And for him to die this way, it’s …”

Varela wants Herrera to know their family lost a loving member, a proud father, grandfather and husband.

“He was loved by many people,” she said. “He (Herrera) has no idea how bad he has impacted our lives and how many lives he’s ruined.”

KRQE News 13 also spoke with Oscar’s son, Oscar Jr., over the phone. He didn’t want to go on camera due to his injuries, but he said he and his girlfriend are out of the hospital recovering.

“The support that we have, not only from our family but from around the community, really helps. We’re taking it day by day,” said Oscar Jr. “It’s tough, but we’ll get through it together.”

Oscar Jr.’s mom had surgery Wednesday. She’s surrounded by lots of friends and family.

For anyone that wants to help, the family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for medical expenses.

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