FARMINGTON — Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped one felony charge against Mihdi Bathke, the Farmington man accused of drunken driving and causing a wreck last month that left a 7-year-old unconscious.
In Bathke's preliminary hearing in Farmington Magistrate Court, prosecutors said they are pursuing one charge of great bodily injury, a felony, in the May 11 crash, said San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien. Bathke also faces two misdemeanor charges for negligent use of a deadly weapon and driving under the influence.
Police say Bathke drove his truck into a vehicle with 7-year-old Ethan Murray, who is recovering in an Albuquerque hospital from injuries he suffered in the crash. The boy's injuries were described in court documents as multiple skull fractures, lacerations to the back of his head and a broken jaw.
Murray's mother, Crystal Roberts, suffered a broken left arm, and his step-father, Jason Roberts, sustained a fractured vertebrae in the wreck. Prosecutors initially filed a felony bodily harm charge for injuries Jason Roberts suffered, but that charge was dropped on Wednesday.
O'Brien said additional medical testimony from the Roberts will be required before that charge can be pursued.
"The parents want to be there by their child's side. It creates a difficulty in being able to prepare for the hearing because they have something that is far more important they have to do," O'Brien said.
The hearing for the May 11 crash was one of three preliminary hearing for Bathke on Wednesday.
Bathke faced two felonies and two misdemeanors for a domestic violence incident on April 23. The two felony charges — child abuse and false imprisonment — were dropped Wednesday, and prosectors will still pursue misdemeanor charges of battery against a household member and interference with communications, O'Brien said.
He said written statements by witnesses factored into the decision to drop the two felony charges.
"We didn't believe the statements would support the charges on the child abuse and false imprisonment," O'Brien said.
Bathke on Wednesday waived his right to a preliminary hearing for a felony charge in a commercial burglary on April 30.
Bathke's next court appearance is June 16 for an arraignment on two felony and two misdemeanor charges from a Feb. 25 domestic violence incident.