Pinedale man arrested for driving through Ceremonial parade route
On Friday, Navajo Nation leaders met with Gallup Mayor Louie Bonaguidi, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Inter-tribal Ceremonial officials to discuss the night parade on Thursday when a suspected drunk driver drove recklessly through the parade route, injuring at least 15 people.
Jeff Irving, 33, from Pinedale, N.M., was arrested late Thursday and faces charges that include aggravated driving while intoxicated, fleeing from officers and injuring parade-goers and two Gallup police officers who tried to stop the vehicle, court documents said.
The people who were hurt, including the police officers, suffered mostly minor injuries, said Lujan Grisham.
Navajo President Jonathan Nez and his family were among those almost hit as the Chevrolet Tahoe drove through the parade route.
Irving’s blood-alcohol content was three times the legal limit for driving, according to court records. His license had been revoked or suspended for another drunken driving charge and the SUV had no registration or insurance, police said.
Grisham said the New Mexico State Police are leading the investigation and will have increased law enforcement presence at the ceremonial events for the remainder of the week.
Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Director Melissa Sanchez read a statement that said the safety of everyone is their top priority as the events continue as planned.
A proclamation issued by the president’s office recognized Sunday, Aug. 7, as a Navajo Nation day of prayer to help recover and heal from Thursday’s event.