Los Alamos Police believe the vehicle in the above photo from a March 5 crash at LAFD Station 4 was driven by Gustavo Salaiz. Photo by Maire O’Neill/losalamosreporter.com
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Magistrate Court has issued an arrest warrant for Gustavo Salaiz, 22, of Los Alamos on four charges connected with a March 5 incident where a vehicle crashed at Los Alamos Fire Department Station 4 on Diamond Drive causing extensive damage.
The criminal complaint filed Monday by Los Alamos Police Cpl. Everett Williams charges Salaiz with unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and open container – second offense.
According to the affidavit filed by Williams, officers responded at around 7:30 p.m. to reports of a single-vehicle rollover accident at Station 4 where the occupants of the vehicle had fled on foot. On arrival, Williams was told a firefighter on the scene that the vehicle involved in the crash had struck a gas line and might explode at any time. The firefighter asked that traffic be redirected and people removed from the area until it was deemed to be safe.
After the scene was made safe, Williams observed tire marks on the roadway covering more than 400 feet and noted damage to an electrical box, numerous trees, a gas meter and the side of a building. The affidavit said the roadway evidence suggested that the green Acura sedan was traveling northbound on Diamond Drive at a high rate of speed when it lost control going around a curve and spun out of control into oncoming traffic. The car then appeared to have run off the roadway, through a bridge structure, and then ran over and through an electrical box, through some trees and struck a gas meter before “coming to an uncontrolled rest when it ran into a building”.
Williams noted in his affidavit that it was evident that the driver of the Acura was driving in a reckless manner prior to losing control.
LAPD Cpl. Robert Larsen got a hold of the registered owner of the vehicle who informed him that the only person who had access to the keys to the vehicle was his roommate Gustavo Salaiz. The keys were still in the ignition and two cell phones were located during an inventory of the vehicle. Williams noted numerous opened and unopened alcohol containers in the front passenger side of the vehicle.
On March 6, Larsen contacted the vehicle owner who said he was in Espanola at the time of the crash. The owner reported that at around 7:30 p.m. March 5, he had received a Snap Chat message from Salaiz stating that someone had stolen the vehicle and it had been wrecked. During discussions with officers, the owner indicated he considered the car stolen and said he had not heard from Salaiz since the Snap Chat message.
On March 11, the owner signed a consent to search form for the vehicle and noted that he had not had any contact from Salaiz since the crash. On March 13, Williams stated that was notified that another officer that Salaiz had been seen driving the vehicle in the area of the skate park a short time prior to the crash.
According to LAPD Cmdr. Preston Ballew, as of 4 p.m. Monday, Salaiz had not been taken into custody.