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Police: Fatal car crash followed hit-and-run, beating

March 21, 2022 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Authorities in New Mexico were investigating Monday whether those in a car that crashed while speeding, killing two of the nine people packed inside, were involved in a hit-and-run and the beating of a homeless man reported before the accident.

Albuquerque police said it appeared alcohol, speed and the amount of people in the vehicle were all factors that led to the driver losing control and the car skidding and smashing into a concrete pillar under Interstate 40 early Sunday.

City fire and rescue crews were dispatched around 3 a.m. and said a male and a female were pronounced dead at the scene.

Of the seven injured who were rushed to hospitals, authorities said five were in critical condition and two others had minor injuries. The names of the dead and injured weren’t immediately released.

Albuquerque police spokesperson Rebecca Atkins said the people in the car, who ranged in age from 16 to 20, may have been involved in at least three other incidents that sparked 911 calls over a period of less than an hour.

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Around 2 a.m., officers responded to calls about a large party on Albuquerque’s southeast side. Neighbors reported several individuals who were drinking, arguing and fighting, and carrying guns. As officers approached the party, they saw a black sedan leave the area.

A few minutes later, the same car was reported to police as involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Authorities then received a call about 25 minutes later saying a group of teens beat a homeless man with a pole outside a restaurant near I-40. A witness told officers two teens assaulted the man before the group fled.

It was unclear if the homeless man was seriously hurt.

Calls about the rollover came in 12 minutes later. Rescue crews had to extricate those who were trapped in the car. Atkins said the driver was among those listed in critical condition and the results of a toxicology test were pending.