Man charged in near-fatal motorcycle crash

Steve Garrison
stgarrison@daily-times.com

AZTEC — A 33-year-old man and his 25-year-old girlfriend were critically injured on Nov. 1 after the man allegedly crashed a stolen motorcycle while fleeing deputies near Crouch Mesa.

Daniel Lowe

Daniel Lowe was charged Nov. 2 in Aztec Magistrate Court with causing great bodily injury by reckless driving, possession of a narcotic drug, possession of a firearm by a felon and receiving a stolen vehicle, among other offenses.

Lowe is in stable condition at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, according to hospital spokeswoman Cindy Foster. The girlfriend, Jessica Gonzales, was airlifted to the same hospital after the crash and treated for a broken pelvis, a lacerated spleen and liver, and two collapsed lungs.

Foster said Wednesday Gonzales has been released from the hospital.

A deputy with the San Juan County Sheriff's Office was on routine patrol Nov. 1 when he spotted two motorcyclists speeding east on County Road 390 near County Road 3900, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The deputy turned his vehicle around and activated his emergency lights and siren, the affidavit states. At the intersection of county roads 55690 and 390, the deputy found the motorcycle wrecked and its riders, Lowe and Gonzales, laying in a ditch.

Lowe was unconscious and bleeding from multiple spots on his head, the affidavit states. A loaded semiautomatic pistol was found near his body and he was wearing an empty holster.

Gonzales and Lowe were transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center before they were airlifted to UNM Hospital, according to the affidavit.

Russell Garner, 41, of Dolores, Colo., was identified as the operator of the second motorcycle riding with Lowe and Gonzales. He told the deputies at the scene Lowe sped off as soon as the deputy drove past them.

He also told deputies the motorcycles he and Lowe were riding were likely "hot." According to the affidavit, the deputies later confirmed Lowe's motorcycle, a 2006 Honda CBR 1000, was previously reported stolen from Tempe, Ariz.

Garner was contacted Wednesday by The Daily Times. He said he could not remember details from the crash.

"It's all kind of blurry," he said. "It was like a five-minute span."

Joey Klemish, 23, of Farmington, said in an interview he was driving west on County Road 390 when he saw Lowe's motorcycle shoot down the road's center line between his vehicle and a white SUV.

"He damn near hit my mirror," Klemish said.

He said he followed deputies to the scene of the crash to see if he could help.

"It was a mess," he said. "That guy was pretty folded up in the ditch."

Nurses treating Lowe at San Juan Regional Medical Center allegedly found two baggies containing 6 grams of methamphetamine in his pants pocket, according to the affidavit.

Another semiautomatic pistol and a digital scale were found in a backpack worn by Gonzales, the affidavit states.

Lowe was already wanted on a felony warrant at the time of the crash on allegations he led a state police officer on a high-speed chase on Sept. 9 after stealing a vehicle from outside a San Juan County convenience store, according to court records.

The chase ended after Lowe allegedly drove the stolen truck over stop sticks deployed by a San Juan County Sheriff's Office deputy, records state. He crashed the vehicle outside a residence at No. 2 County Road 6484 and fled on foot, according to the records.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644.