By Roger Lanse
Orlando Chavez, 23, of Hurley, was arrested at his home at approximately 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 23, on an outstanding warrant for a traffic violation, according to a New Mexico State Police spokesman, and transported to the Grant County Detention Center. Witnesses, according to the spokesman, had identified Chavez as the person who was driving a Dodge truck aggressively, recklessly, and with excessive speed earlier that afternoon causing a motorcyclist, Don White, 46, of Silver City, to crash. The accident occurred at mile marker 124.7 on U.S. 180, a little north of North Hurley shortly after noon on Wednesday. White is employed by the Hurley Police Department, according to HPD Chief Pete Ordonez.
According to the NMSP spokesman, there was no collision. Chavez, in the southbound lane, attempted to pass a vehicle, but failed to see the motorcycle coming at him in the northbound lane. In taking evasive action to avoid Chavez, White lost control of the motorcycle, was thrown off, and impacted his head on the pavement of the southbound lane "resulting in severe trauma to the head and face," court documents said. White was not wearing a helmet.
The NMSP spokesman, who arrived at the crash site about 20 minutes after the crash told the Grant County Beat that White was bleeding profusely from his face and did not appear to be conscious. Authorities shut down the highway and at approximately 1-1:30 p.m., a helicopter airlifted White to an El Paso hospital.
Chavez, according to the NMSP spokesman, was served an arrest warrant at 10 p.m. Wednesday night at the GCDC and charged with great bodily harm with a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, and child abuse/endangerment, all 3rd degree felonies. The latter charge stems from having his 4-year-old son improperly belted in a booster seat in the vehicle when the crash took place, the court documents stated.
According to GCDC personnel, Chavez was in custody Thursday morning under a $30,588 bond.
Family members stated White was in an induced coma Thursday morning, July 24.