Kirtland Air Force Base Takes Over Case of Deadly Crash Involving Airmen

Crime scene boundary tape. Getty Images
Crime scene boundary tape. Getty Images

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Kirtland Air Force Base officials are tight-lipped after Albuquerque police handed over the investigation into four airmen involved in a horrific crash that killed a woman outside the base last month.

KAFB spokesman Jim Fisher said the investigation is now in the hands of their Office of Special Investigations.

"They're not going to say anything about it until it's concluded," he said. "That's their policy."

Fisher would not name the airmen, including the driver, who were in the car when it struck and killed 39-year-old Angelica Baca on March 23 as she crossed Louisiana, north of Gibson.

At the time, three of the airmen were critically injured and he said they are still recovering from their injuries.

Police say the crash occurred around 7:30 p.m. when the car tried to get around another vehicle and struck Baca in the middle turning lane, instantly killing her. The car then crashed into the Rising Phoenix Apartment Complex.

At first, police reported that the crash was possibly a result of street racing between two cars. Fisher said KAFB would not "speculate" on what led to the crash but that APD's investigative reports did not indicate racing.

"First couple days after the accident there was a lot of speculation," he said. "This other car that supposedly drove away, or didn't stop, doesn't appear to ever have actually existed."

Fisher said the Air Force assists local authorities, in this case APD, but also aims to "maximize jurisdiction wherever possible."

"As a matter of course, we ask for jurisdiction in almost every case," he said.

Fisher said that is so military members can be dealt with in the context of the military justice system, which has the advantage of a smaller case load and more resources that lead to "favorable conditions" over other authorities.

"We're a little more expeditious, we're able to be more efficient," he said.

Fisher said once complete, OIS will turn over its investigation to a staff judge advocate, who will decide how to go forward. That could mean a dismissal, a hearing or an indictment, which could lead to a court-martial.

This article is written by Matthew Reisen from Albuquerque Journal and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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