One man is dead, and one is in jail after driving into flood waters in Mora County

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Mora County, NM – A Guadalupita, NM man has died after the vehicle he was a passenger in was driven into flood waters in Mora County.  The driver of that vehicle, John Vasquez, 30, also of Guadalupita survived and left the scene.  He was later located, arrested, and charged with Homicide by Vehicle.  


The incident started on August 7, at around 2:30 p.m. when New Mexico State Police officers received a call about a pickup truck with two men inside that had driven into a flooded portion of New Mexico State Road 434 at milepost 7.  Witnesses say the truck drove around several vehicles that were stopped for the flooding and then drove into the waters and was swept away.


Rescue personnel arrived and made contact with the driver, who was later identified as John Vasquez.  He was able to get out of the vehicle before it was swept away.  After receiving first aid for minor injuries, Vasquez immediately left the area and started walking west from the scene.


When state police officers arrived, they were told that Vasquez had left the scene.  Rescue personnel began recovery efforts, but the waters were too strong.  At around 7:30 p.m., the waters receded, and rescue personnel gained access to the truck. The truck had been carried about 100 yards from where it entered the water. 


Benjamin Torres, 64, of Guadalupita was found inside the truck.  He was pronounced deceased on the scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator. 


Officers later located Vasquez at his residence.  He admitted to officers that he had drunk alcohol before driving the vehicle, drove the vehicle into the water, and left the scene.  State police officers shared their findings with the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office who approved the charges of:


  • Homicide by Vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (3rd-degree felony)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident knowing there was death or great bodily harm (3rd-degree felony)




Vasquez was arrested on his charges and booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center. This case was investigated by the New Mexico State Police.