Times’ staffer in crash, arrested for DWI

WINDOW ROCK

A Window Rock man was charged with DWI Thursday> after he rear-ended another vehicle containing a woman who was nine months pregnant on Interstate 40 near Thoreau, New Mexico.

Terry Bowman, 26, was also charged with failure to maintain a traffic lane and reckless driving.

New Mexico State Police officials said they received a report from a motorist driving on Interstate 40 near Thoreau about 9 p.m. of a vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed passing other vehicles on the shoulder of the road.

She said the vehicle was going 85 mph and she couldn’t keep up with it as it continued in the westbound lane.

State police immediately sent units to the area but before they reached the site, they were informed at 9:17 p.m. of a report of a vehicle rear-ending another vehicle near Exit 47 on the westbound lane.

When the first police units reached the area, they saw a black Chevy pickup parked in the median. An ambulance was already there helping a female. Three men were also near the vehicle.

One of the men, later identified as Bowman, came up to the officers. According to the report, Bowman had bloodshot eyes and had the odor of intoxicating liquor coming from him.

He was asked what happened and, according to his arrest warrant, Bowman said “he was hit” and was “just here to help the occupants of the black truck.”

As he talked to the police officer, the officer noticed that Bowman was almost walking into traffic so for his safety he was handcuffed and placed in the back of the police unit.

The officer then went to talk to the driver of the pickup who identified himself as Sheldon Yazzie and said he was driving in the inside lane when he was rear-ended and driven into the median.

He said the man that had been handcuffed had approached his pickup and asked if everything was OK. The man appeared to be intoxicated, Yazzie said.

The officer said he then walked over to the silver Buick car that Bowman had been driving and noticed that it had severe damage to the front end. He said he also noticed a lot of debris on the road where the accident apparently happened.

Bowman was informed he was being arrested on DWI charges. He said he understood but continued to say that he only stopped to help the people in the pickup.

He added that he worked for the Navajo Times and that he had been in Albuquerque delivering newspapers. He admitted to drinking on his way back — two cans of Mexican beer — but said he was not drunk. He demanded he be allowed to blow into a portable alcohol breath machine to prove it.

At that time, police learned that there had been a female passenger in the pickup that was hit. The woman, identified as Darlene Yazzie, was nine months pregnant and was already a day past her due date.

She was being treated by medical personnel at the scene and was soon transported to the Gallup Indian Medical Center where she was monitored for the rest of the night after being diagnosed with a concussion and several scrapes.

Bowman was taken to state police headquarters where he was given field sobriety tests which he failed due to problems keeping his balance and swaying side to side. In doing verbal tests, he continued to fail to recite the alphabet correctly and got numbers out of order when asked to count.

He was later given a breath alcohol test during which he posted samples of 0.23 and 0.22 – almost three times the legal limit.

It was later discovered that the vehicle he was driving belonged to the Navajo Times Publishing Company. Bowman had been a reporter for the newspaper for about a year.

Bowman spent the night in county jail and appeared by video before a Gallup magistrate judge who released him on his own recognizance on Friday.

The Navajo Times has placed Bowman on administrative leave pending a fact-finding investigation.


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