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Suspect made his first appearance in court on May 22

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FARMINGTON — A California man is accused of severely injuring an elderly woman when he struck her with his SUV outside a Bloomfield business then repeatedly drove back and forth over her.

Eddie Hernandez, 34, of Visalia, California, is accused of five charges including felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident knowingly and causing great bodily harm by vehicle, according to a Bloomfield Police Department press release.

Bloomfield Police Officer Christian Waltermire was dispatched around 1:15 p.m. on May 21 to the Dollar General store at 1502 W. Broadway Ave. to investigate a reported shoplifting that led to a woman being injured by an SUV as the suspect fled. 

"The suspect turned a petty misdemeanor shoplifting incident into a violent felony case where an innocent victim was severely injured," Bloomfield Police Chief David Karst said in a press release.

A witness told police her grandmother was walking to her vehicle when a black Chevy SUV struck her once, and then the SUV backed up several more times, running over her grandmother.

The vehicle stopped, and a man later identified as Hernandez exited the vehicle and started walking north from the scene.

The arrest warrant affidavit states the victim received life-threatening injuries, including a brain bleed and a fractured collarbone and pelvis.

She was transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center for treatment.

The victim was alert and oriented on the afternoon of May 22, according to Bloomfield Police administrative supervisor Suzanne Moore.

Hernandez was later detained by officers in the area near Ruth Lane.

The manager and a cashier at the Dollar General store both observed Hernandez shoplift from the store then watched the SUV drive repeatedly over the woman.

A cell phone, a small tube of ointment and a small makeup compact were found in Hernandez's pants.

Hernandez was not interviewed by police as he requested an attorney be present.

The suspect made his first appearance in Aztec Magistrate Court on May 22 and a $5,000 cash at 10 percent bond was set, according to court documents.

Hernandez is incarcerated at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

His preliminary hearing is set for the morning of May 30 in Aztec Magistrate Court.  

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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