The driver of the SUV that drove through a Native American parade in New Mexico on Thursday, injuring 15 people, was charged with drunk driving after his blood alcohol level was found to be three times the legal limit, police said.
Jeff Irving, 33, was booked into the McKinley County jail on a laundry list of criminal charges stemming from the incident at the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Parade, including aggravated DWI, 15 counts of leaving the scene of an accident and open container possession, according to police.
The crash left 15 people hurt, among them two Gallup police officers identified as Gilbert Gonzales and Elijah Bowman. No fatalities were reported.
According to court documents cited by the station KOAT, Irving, whose rap sheet includes a previous DWI arrest, admitted to the police that he had been drinking alcohol before the incident.
Irving said he was watching the parade in Gallup with his brothers, but then they decided to leave.
Videos recorded by witnesses show the brown Chevy Tahoe Irving was driving speeding the wrong way down the parade route, sending children performing traditional dances fleeing for their lives.
Amid the chaos and bystanders’ panicked screams, the vehicle swerved onto a side street and pulled into a parking spot before trying to pull out again, hitting a police car. Officers then converge on the vehicle, pulling at least two people out and handcuffing them on the pavement.
Cops who detained Irving administered field sobriety tests and concluded that he was allegedly impaired.
According to court filings, the 33-year-old was then given two breath tests and blew 0.24. In New Mexico, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration of .08.
Police stated that Irving also was found to be driving with a revoked license because of a previous DWI, and no proof of insurance. The SUV’s registration was expired.
The Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial is a 10-day celebration consisting of in-person and virtual events. The city celebrated its 100th anniversary of the annual event this year.