Family of Girl Killed in New Mexico Crash With Doctor Sues

April 24, 2012

The family of a little girl killed when her family’s van was hit by a vehicle driven by a Santa Fe, N.M., surgeon suspected of driving drunk has filed a wrongful death suit against the doctor and her insurance company.

Dr. Deborah Aaron was arrested by Santa Fe police after the Dec. 30 crash that killed 4-year-old Yuliana Aremi Reyes Vasquez. Aaron, 56, has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide, but the district attorney has not filed an indictment to move the case forward. She is free on a $100,000 bond.

In court documents, police have said the little girl’s mother wasn’t sure if she had a green light and they have conflicting witness reports.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the lawsuit filed on the family’s behalf on Wednesday flatly says the girl’s mother, Karla Aremi Vasquez Rivera, had the green light when she entered the intersection after first stopping at a red light.

“When she received a green arrow, she initiated a left-hand turn towards the northbound lanes of St. Francis Drive,” the lawsuit states. “As she proceeded across the intersection the minivan was struck by Dr. Aaron’s Range Rover.”

Aaron failed a field sobriety test, smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes, according to an officer’s report. A blood sample later found her blood-alcohol content was 0.08 percent, the level where drivers are presumed to be intoxicated under state law.

Dan Cron, Aaron’s attorney for the vehicular homicide charge, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday.

Police have said one witness told investigators it was the family minivan that ran a red light and that the light was green for Aaron on St. Francis.

The district attorney’s office has not filed an indictment to move the charge against Aaron forward, and police have said they’re trying to determine which driver had the right of way. Aaron has entered a not guilty plea and is free on a $100,000 bond.

Police Capt. Aric Wheeler said Friday the case is still under consideration by prosecutors. “We have independent witnesses who have given us conflicting statements,” Wheeler said.

The lead plaintiff in the wrongful death lawsuit is Amayra Hamilton, a friend of Yuliana’s family who has spoken on its behalf previously. She has been appointed the family personal representative for purposes of the lawsuit.

State Farm Insurance is named as a defendant along with Aarons.

The suit says Yuliana, her mother and her sister were all in seat belts when the wreck took place.

Meanwhile, Aaron is awaiting a ruling from a hearing where she was trying to keep her driver’s license. Her lawyer argued at a revocation hearing earlier this month that she wasn’t charged with drunken driving so should keep her license.

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