By Carlos Padilla
While patrolling in the city of Elephant Butte early Tuesday morning, April 3, Deputy Manuel Hernandez of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department saw a young woman walking along Country Club Boulevard, carrying a flashlight, at about 4 a.m.
Deputy Hernandez stopped to talk to the young woman, later identified as 22-year-old Brittany Herrera of Truth or Consequences, and noticed that her upper lip was bleeding. Miss Herrera told the officer that she was lost and had fallen.
She later admitted to driving and crashing her Suzuki SUV. Miss Herrera told Deputy Hernandez that she did not know where she was or where her vehicle was located.
While an ambulance was dispatched to the scene, Miss Herrera told Deputy Hernandez that it was her birthday, and that she had been drinking.
Miss Herrera was transported by ambulance to Sierra Vista Hospital and treated for her injuries. After she was released from the hospital, Miss Herrera was taken to the Truth or Consequences Police Department, where TCPD Officer James Harrington administered a breath test, which revealed Herrera was more than twice New Mexico’s presumed level of intoxication.
Miss Herrera was then transported to the Sierra County Detention Facility, where she booked on two charges, aggravated driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, and for leaving the scene of an accident.
In the criminal complaint filed in Sierra County Magistrate Court, Deputy Hernandez noted that the DUI charge was elevated to aggravated status due to Miss Herrera’s presumed level of intoxication being twice the legal limit, despite this being Herrera’s first DUI offense.