(CBS4) – A Denver family is calling for justice after an alleged drunk driver hit and killed two loved ones and injured another in a wrong way crash in New Mexico. The incident occurred in the early hours of May 1, on Interstate 25 near Tramway Boulevard in Albuquerque. According to a police report, the driver of a Ford F150 hit a GMC SUV while driving northbound in the southbound lane.
Alfredo Escaname-Hernandez, 50, and 21-year-old Diego Arellano Robles died on scene. Fernando Arellano, 21, the driver of the GMC SUV, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. According to family, Arellano remains in the hospital.
“Receiving that call was probably the most devastating thing of my life,” said Federico Escaname, son of Alfredo.
Family members of the three victims tell CBS4 their loved ones were driving to Juarez, Mexico to visit family. All three call Denver home.
“We have family down in Juarez, Mexico. They were just taking a quick trip,” said Escaname. “My father was going down to help my cousins build their home down there.”
Brandon Barber, a probationary officer for the Cuba Police Department and captain in the New Mexico National Guard, is now charged with three counts of vehicular homicide, DWI, and possession of an open container.
In a criminal complaint, deputies said Barber “exhibited an odor of alcohol” and had blood shot eyes. One investigator also observed a half-consumed bottle of liquor on the floor of the vehicle.
According to court records, this is the second time Barber has been arrested for DWI.
“It’s sadness, it’s really hopeless, it’s anger knowing that this could have been completely preventable,” said Nora Escaname,
Last week, prosecutors asked a judge to keep Barber in jail until the trial, but a district court judge released him to his parents with continued supervision of the court’s Pretrial Services Program. Under the conditions of his release, Barber may not drive and will be subject drug and alcohol monitoring by a SoberLink device.
Family members of the victims called the decision “insulting.”
“It’s not fair that he gets to come home to his parents under their care, but my father doesn’t get to come home to my mom, to my brother, my sister, my son,” Federico Escaname said. “Justice right now is just them handling it the way it’s supposed to be handled and making sure he doesn’t see the light of day.”
Escaname described his father, Alfredo, as a man of many trades whom family members and friends saw as a father figure.
“Everybody loved my dad,” he said.
Nora Escaname said Diego and Fernando were best friends as much as family members. She said the two were always joking with each other and had exciting futures ahead of them.
“Diego no longer gets to get that opportunity, and we don’t know what that’s going to look like for my little brother if he does make it through this,” she said.
According to Cuba Police Chief Manuel Romero, Barber has been terminated from his position as a probationary employee.
Barber, who has been in the New Mexico National Guard for almost 10 years, is also subject to legal action under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, a spokesperson said.