BY MAIRE O’NEILL
A 20-year old Alcalde arrested in connection with an April 19 hit and run crash is in a pre-prosecution diversion program through the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies confirmed Friday. Julian Lopez was arrested April 21 and charged in Los Alamos Magistrate Court with accident involving death or personal injuries, immediate notice of accident and careless driving.
Lopez was driving a truck on NM 4 when he allegedly struck and injured two cyclists, one of whom was transported to Los Alamos Medical Center with serious injuries. Lopez failed to stop at the scene but his vehicle had distinguishing features which allowed it to be traced through photos and video captured by Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The Los Alamos Reporter became aware of previous serious charges against Julian Lopez over the past two years including unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises and unlawful carrying of a handgun by a person under 19 in connection with a January 29, 2020 incident in Los Alamos. Those charges were dismissed without prejudice in Los Alamos Magistrate Court by former prosecutor Larissa Breen on the grounds that Lopez had been referred for participation in the pre-prosecution program. Details of the program may be seen at https://www.1stjda.com/diversion.
According Magistrate Court documents, Los Alamos Police Department Det. Matt Lyon received a call at around 3:18 p.m., January 29, 2020 advising him that 20-25 teens were getting ready to fight in the parking lot across from the Los Alamos Teen Center. LAPD officers responded to the scene where apparently two teens were fighting with some 20 teens present. About an hour later, Lyon was notified that some of those involved earlier had returned to the parking lot with handguns.
Officers located the black Honda Civic near the skate park and followed it to the parking lot at Sullivan Field where they conducted a felony stop. There were five people in the car – Lopez, the driver, Joshua Martinez, 20, of Los Alamos and three juveniles. Court documents indicate that Lopez told officers there were two guns under the seats and that one of them, a Glock 19 with a 30-round clip, was his. The Honda Civic was towed from the Sullivan Field parking lot and the occupants were taken to the police department. Court records indicate that a charge of carrying a deadly weapon on school premises against Martinez was dismissed for lack of probable cause. The dismissal appears to have been signed by Rio Arriba County Magistrate Judge Joseph Madrid.
Lopez had other charges dismissed in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court by Judge Alexandra Naranjo in June 2020 for “lack of prosecution – no action taken in 60 days”. In that case, Lopez was accused of non-residential burglary, larceny of more than $2,500 and less than $25,000, three counts of conspiracy to commit non-residential burglary, and criminal damage to property.
In February 2020, Lopez pleaded no contest to a charge of driving 11-15 miles over the speed limit. He received a deferred sentence, one day of probation, and was ordered to pay $61 in court costs. In March 2019, a charge of driving 16-20 over the limit in was dismissed with prejudice by Judge Madrid for “failure to prosecute”.
Lopez faces a May 28 preliminary hearing in Los Alamos Magistrate Court on the charges associated with the April 19 crash.