FARMINGTON — Concerned friends and family gathered in the parking lot of Home Depot Wednesday night to pray for the health of an unconscious seven-year-old who was battling for his life in an Albuquerque hospital.
The prayer vigil was for Ethan Murray, who was transported to the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque for injuries suffered from a vehicle collision on Sunday afternoon.
Ethan was unconscious when extracted from the Kia Sol he was riding in after it was rear-ended by a red Ford F-250 truck driven by Mihdi Bathke near the intersection of Country Club Drive and East Main Street. Police said Wednesday that additional charges had been filed against Bathke.
About 45 people were on hand for the vigil with Pastor Andy Fine of Calvary Chapel Farmington leading the crowd in prayer.
The four occupants in the Kia Sol including Ethan were transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment. Jason Roberts, the driver, sustained a fractured vertebrae while his wife Crystal Roberts suffered a broken left arm and an 11-year-old girl complained of pain in her lower back, according to court documents.
Before being flown to UNM hospital, Ethan's injuries were identified as multiple skull fractures and lacerations to the back of his head, and a broken jaw.
During the vigil, Crystal's sister Spring Kenworthy spoke to the crowd about her gratitude for the turnout and updated everyone on Ethan's condition.
Kenworthy said Ethan remained unconscious, the swelling on his brain had decreased and he was being prepared for surgery to repair his broken jaw, which was scheduled for this morning.
Home Depot supervisor Lisa Castillo said Crystal was a manager at the home improvement store and once her co-workers heard about Ethan, they decided they needed to do something.
"Home Depot is literally a family and we hope we can do everything to help out," Castillo said.
Fellow supervisor Monica Soveranez said workers have put together care packages with snacks and bottles of water for the Roberts family as they stay by Ethan's bedside.
Soveranez said that after hearing of Ethan's injuries, Home Depot officials decided to match the money donated by employees as part of the company's Homer Fund dedicated to helping employees in need.
"It's mind blowing," Soveranez said. "Ethan was her world. Everybody has put everything on the back burner and this is our focus right now. This family is special. The love of this mom for her kid, it's special."
Bathke was charged with DUI on Sunday.
Farmington City Clerk Dianne Smylie said in an email that Bathke was employed as a Farmington Fire Department firefighter from August 5, 2009, through March 26 of this year.
Bathke also faces two felony counts of great bodily injury by motor vehicle and the misdemeanor charge of negligent use of a deadly weapon. The criminal complaint filed in Farmington magistrate court states that Bathke told officers he had taken four different kinds of prescription drugs about three hours before the incident.
During the execution of a search warrant on Bathke's truck, police found a loaded black Sig Sauer P250 firearm in the back seat.
According to court records, Bathke now faces a total of seven felony and six misdemeanor charges that have been filed against him since Feb. 27.
Included are multiple charges of battery against a household member and false imprisonment along with charges for aggravated assault against a household member with a deadly weapon, child abuse and commercial burglary for allegedly causing $2,000 in damage at San Juan Endodontics at 4101 N. Butler Ave. on April 30.
San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Bathke was taken into custody during a hearing Wednesday for charges stemming from an April 23 arrest where Bathke allegedly punched a minor twice in the chest. Bathke is being held at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center on $150,000 cash-only bond.
O'Brien said Bathke applied to the pre-prosecution diversion program on his first set of charges from Feb. 27 but was rejected from the program.
"He was determined to not be a good candidate for the program," O'Brien said.
Moriah Gallion brought her two sons Braxton and Kael to the vigil. Gallion was working Sunday when the Roberts family was brought to San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment and remembers comforting parents Crystal and Jason in the hospital.
"I've been thinking about them since the accident happened," Gallion said. "I came out to support everyone."
Donations can be dropped off at Home Depot in Farmington.