The repeat drunk driver who ran a stop sign in February, killing his friend and severely injuring two others pleaded guilty and was sentenced to prison last week.
Rudolph “Rudy” Muniz, 53 of Mora County, pleaded guilty last Monday to vehicular homicide and two counts of causing great bodily harm by vehicle, all fourth-degree felonies, online court records show. He also pleaded guilty to one count of driving under the influence, a third-degree felony, and one count of misdemeanor reckless driving.
District Judge Matthew Sandoval sentenced Muniz to 14 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed under the plea agreement.
The district attorney’s office said in a news release that this was Muniz’s seventh DWI.
A blood test revealed that Muniz’s blood alcohol content after the February crash was .25, more than three times the state’s presumed level of intoxication. Killed in the crash was Manuel Olivas, a passenger in Muniz’s vehicle. Muniz and Olivas were close friends.
“Mr. Muniz took the life of a close friend. Dealing with that reality may be a tougher sentence than we could have imposed,” District Attorney Richard Flores said in the news release. “DWI is a crime that affects all of us. Mr. Muniz, obviously, had not learned from his prior mistakes, having accumulated six prior DWIs before this incident.
“He will now have the next 14 years of his life behind bars to think about driving drunk and its potential consequences. We can only hope that when Mr. Muniz is released from prison, that he will never drink and drive again.”
The fatal crash occurred at about 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 3.
Muniz was driving a small Nissan pickup and was heading west bound on Lincoln Avenue. He had two passengers in the truck, Olivas and Jennifer Cruz.
Muniz failed to stop at the stop sign at the intersection of Lincoln and Grand Avenue and drove into the path of a full-size pickup driven by Justin Jaramillo, who was headed south bound on Grand.
Olivas was transported to Alta Vista Regional Hospital, where he died. Cruz, Jaramillo and Muniz were all injured in the crash.
The state was represented by Twila Quintana and Thomas Clayton. Muniz was represented by Michael Aragon.