FARMINGTON — A man on Wednesday pleaded not guilty in magistrate court to two felonies filed in connection to an alleged drunken driving crash with his girlfriend's 4-year-old son in the car.
Kyle Lanell, 20, is charged with child abuse and great bodily harm by vehicle — both of which are third-degree felonies — and drunken driving and a seat belt violation for his role in the Feb. 6 crash south of Bloomfield.
Lanell was driving a Ford sport utility vehicle faster than 50 miles per hour when he crashed and rolled over near county roads 7500 and 7520, according to court documents. The speed limit is 25 miles per hour on the gravel county road.
Lanell's girlfriend, Diedra Harrison, was in the car and suffered a spinal injury. She was treated and released from San Juan Regional Medical Center, said Kathryn Pettyjohn, a hospital spokeswoman.
Harrison's 4-year-old son was also in the car at the time of the crash. The child was taken to the hospital but didn't suffer significant injuries, according to court documents.
Lanell's younger brother, who was also in the car, left before the arresting deputy arrived, according to court documents.
Lanell broke his leg in the crash and was treated at the hospital.
Police reported there were cans of Budweiser all over the crash scene, according to court documents. Lanell was arrested on Feb. 24, said San Juan County Sheriff's Office Lt. Cory Tanner.
Mark Curnutt, Lanell's attorney, asked for a bond reduction because Lanell has no prior drunken driving arrests and no criminal history. Prosecutors agreed that Magistrate Judge Stanley King could lower Lanell's bond from $30,000 cash or surety to $10,000 cash or surety.
King, citing his own personal history of driving impaired, kept the bond the same.
"Do you know how many times Judge King should have been picked up for DWI during his first year in college?" King said in court. "There are 52 weekends in a year. Probably that many times. I was fortunate."
After the hearing, King said people who are arrested on suspicion of drunken driving have likely driven impaired many times prior to their arrest.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study into the patterns of drunken drivers showed people arrested for DWI drove impaired 80 times before they were arrested, said Dolly Otero, the lead victim services specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving in New Mexico.
King said in court that the police's allegations show Lanell had no consideration for others' safety. He said the allegations against Lanell suggest he may not take responsibility and show up to future court proceedings.
"I have a concern for those children's safety and the general public's welfare," King said.
Lanell pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a preliminary hearing. His case will be tried in district court.Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.