SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A newly released police report reveals more about the night of September 24th when 44-year-old Clara Avina of Santa Fe got behind the wheel drunk and killed 23-year-old Anton Gress.
In the report, a man claims he tried to be Avina’s designated driver.
It was one of the worst scenes police have ever seen. Gress, a young man heading home from work, was trapped in his burning SUV as officers tried desperately to get him out, but the fire was too intense.
Also, killed that night the driver who caused it, 44-year-old Clara Avina, who according to family had been upset that day because of marital problems and was even looking for an apartment.
KRQE News 13 has learned she ended up at PC’s Restaurant and Lounge on Airport Road.
In this newly released police report, the bar’s owner says Avina only drank two beers and a shot, but a fellow customer Fidel Delgado says by the end of the night Avina was “totaled and ripped.”
Several people at the bar asked her if she needed a taxi ride home, but she refused. Delgado says that’s when he offered to take her home. Witnesses say Avina was “stumbling as she walked.”
But they didn’t go straight to her house, Delgado and Avina made a stop at the nearby Allsups to buy more beer.
Delgado says when he walked back outside he realized Avina driven off. He says he learned later Avina had been involved in a crash and felt awful because he tried really hard to get her home.
Instead, deputies had to deliver the news to her family and to the family of the innocent victim, Gress.
Investigators told KRQE News 13 it might not be possible to figure out how drunk Avina was because of how badly burned she was. Those results are still pending.
Investigators did look into the possibility that Avina drove into oncoming traffic to commit suicide, but they say in their report they didn’t find any evidence to support that.