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Early Morning Crash Turns Deadly

By Miguel Martinez

EL PASO — A 19-year-old woman died early Saturday morningfollowing an alcohol related crash,police officers said.Police arrested oneperson on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after his vehicle slammed into two others.

The victim, Valerie Talamantes, was in a car that had stopped at the intersection of Hawkins Blvd. and Montana Ave. at 2:30a.m. when Edison Bayas, a soldier from Ft. Bliss’4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, rear-endedthe vehicleat high speed, police said.

Elsa Mendoza, another driver at the intersection, was also struck in her car. Most of the force of the collision was sustained by Talamantes’ car, police said.

Talamanteswas rushed to Thomason Hospital where she died from her injuries. Mendoza was treated at Thomason and later released.

Police said they believe Bayas was intoxicated when he collided with the other two vehicles.

“The message has been clear for many, many years; that people should not drink and drive. Sometimes, I think [people] have a skewed vision of just how intoxicated they really are,” said Darrel Petry, an El Paso Police Department spokesman.

Bayas, who had recently returned from Iraq, was booked into the El Paso County Jail on a charge of intoxicated manslaughter and is being held on a $50,000 bond.

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