Debbie Thompson was given a certificate of appreciation by Belen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.
Photo courtesy of Belen Police Department

BELEN — Two Valencia County residents were recognized by the Belen Police Department for their help when a truck carrying horses crashed on Interstate 25 last month.

At about 8:43 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, officers with the Belen Police Department responded to Mile Marker 199 on I-25 in reference to a motor vehicle crash. Upon arrival, officers noticed the vehicle involved in the crash was a pickup truck towing a horse trailer.

Officers learned the driver of the pickup, later identified as 21-year-old Jose Martinez, of Albuquerque, had fled the crash scene on foot. Officers discovered the horses were still trapped within the trailer and injured.

The assistance of two gracious community members, Debbie Thompson, owner of Charlie’s Paint and Body in Belen, and veterinarian Dr. William Thompson, of the Los Lunas Animal Clinic, rendered veterinary care and transportation for the horses.

Dr. William Thompson, DVM was given a certificate of appreciation by Belen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.
Photo courtesy of Belen Police Department

Later in the night, officers located Martinez, who initially denied being the driver involved in the crash, but after speaking to him further he admitted to being the driver and leaving his horses behind.

Belen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez said Martinez was displaying signs of intoxication and after a DWI investigation was conducted, he was arrested for DWI along with other charges, including extreme cruelty to animals, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, no driver’s license, duty upon striking fixtures (leaving scene of an accident and failing to report it), no registration on demand and having a fictitious plate on the vehicle.

The New Mexico Livestock Board was contacted and they took custody of the horses.

Jose Martinez
Charged, arrested

Chief Rodriguez said he is extremely grateful for the assistance rendered by Debbie Thompson and Dr. William Thompson. The chief presented both with a certificate of appreciation for their outstanding commitment to serving their community.

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.