The father who allegedly hosted a party that led to drinking by several underage teenagers later involved in a crash has been charged by Sunland Park Police. Two Franklin High School students, James McClain Green and Nathalie Diaz, were critically injured in the wreck.
Angel Fernando Hernandez, 35, is facing five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and four counts of selling or serving alcohol to a minor, online jail records state. Hernandez was arrested Tuesday evening on the 1000 block of McNutt in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
Sunland Park Police had already charged 28-year-old James Furman and 17-year-old Pablo Payan with DWI in connection to the wreck, which happened Saturday, November 17, 2018 at the intersection of Edinburgh Drive and Leeds Drive.
According to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom, Pablo Payan refused a field sobriety test and told police officers at the scene of crash, “I’m drunk. Just take me in.”
A witness told police Payan, the juvenile driver of a Jeep Wrangler, was heading south on Edinburgh without using his vehicle’s headlights. Payan allegedly ran a stop sign at the intersection and collided with a Mitsubishi Galant, driven by James Furman, causing the Jeep to roll, police said. Five passengers were riding in the Jeep with Payan.
The criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7 states McClain, 18, was partially ejected from the Jeep and “pinned between the Jeep and asphalt.” The document further states McClain “has undergone six surgeries since the day of the incident and was resuscitated several times.” He is currently in stable condition, police said.
Two other teenagers in the Jeep, 17-year-old Nathalie Diaz and 16-year-old Michael Nikicicz, also suffered injuries. Diaz sustained injuries to her spine and neck. Nikicicz suffered a laceration to his head, the document states.
In addition to Payan, McClain, Diaz and Nikicicz, the criminal complaint identifies the other teenagers riding in the Jeep as 17-year-old Michael Haack and 16-year-old Batyah Barraza.
Multiple witnesses tell ABC-7 Furman remained at the scene and actually helped lift the Jeep off McClain’s body. Furman and his wife were also injured in the crash. Furman’s wife told ABC-7, “It is very painful for both of us to walk, but right now, our hearts go out to McClain, and we hope and pray he pulls through.”
Sunland Park Police said the site of the crash fell under their jurisdiction and the City’s social host ordinance applied to the case.
Two days after the wreck, investigators learned the police department received several calls regarding loud music and parking problems near the residence at 5906 Windermore Court in Santa Teresa.
ABC-7 learned that even though Hernandez’s address shows it as being in Santa Teresa, his home actually falls within District 6 of Sunland Park.
It explains why Sunland Park police was the lead agency in the investigation and why Hernandez is accused of violating Sunland Park’s social host ordinance.
When investigators visited the home, they spoke with the homeowner, Angel Fernando Hernandez, who said he and his wife hosted a birthday party for their 17-year-old daughter the night of the crash.
Hernandez told police he was present at the party for its entire duration, in between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. He told guests they had to leave at 10 p.m. When investigators spoke with the 17-year-old daughter, she told police about 30 people were at her party. When police told her the names of the six teens riding in the Jeep the night of the wreck, the girl allegedly told police she remembered seeing all six at her party.
At that point in the interview, Hernandez interrupted the police interview with his daughter and told police he had asked several teenagers to leave his home after he noticed they had brought alcoholic beverages to the party. Hernandez and his wife told police they offered to take the juveniles home.
Investigators then spoke with Nathalie Diaz at the hospital. She allegedly told them alcoholic beverages were being served at the party, including “jungle juice.” Diaz also told police she saw a liquor bottle, “red and silver” alcoholic drinks and people “playing beer bong,” the criminal complaint states.
Diaz told police she remembered Pablo Payan, the driver of the Jeep, and two of her friends drinking at the party, the document states. Diaz further told police Hernandez’s 17-year-old daughter, the birthday girl, was going around the party asking people for “pitch in money.” Diaz also said the 17-year-old girl was offering beer to guests at the party and drinking out of a “wine bag,” the criminal complaint states.
Diaz told police, that when the group of six teens left the party in Pablo Payan’s Jeep, they were being followed by a seventh friend driving a white car. At they drove away from the home, Diaz said, James McClain was “hyping” up the white car behind them “by sticking half his body out the (Jeep’s) window and yelling out the window.” This happened moments before Payan’s Jeep struck Fuhrman’s Galant, the criminal complaint states.
On November 21, 2018, police spoke with Michael Haack, who allegedly told police alcoholic beverages were being served at the party. Haack, the document states, told police there was a cooler in the back yard with Bud Light, Natural Light, wine coolers and a “wine bag.”
“Michael (Haack) stated the juveniles were drinking in plain view of an adult male who kept coming in and out of the house,” the criminal complaint states. When asked if Angel Hernandez ever approached the juveniles to ask why they were drinking alcohol, Haack allegedly answered “no.”
Haack also told police he noticed the 17-year-old birthday girl collecting money from people and passing the wine bag around so people could drink out of it. Haack admitted to drinking with Pablo Payan, Micahel Nikicicz and James McClain and told police he saw Payan drink four to five beers in addition to drinking from the wine bag.
The criminal complaint identifies Hernandez’s 17-year-old daughter, but ABC-7 is not identifying the teenager because she has not been charged with a crime.
Police said they found an empty 12-pack case of Natural Light inside Payan’s Jeep after the crash. When asked about the discovery, Haack allegedly lied, but later said Nikicicz and Payan “might have introduced some of the Natural Lights by concealing them inside their jackets but was unsure,” the criminal complaint states.
Haack said he and Nikicicz tried stopping Payan from driving multiple times. Haack even warned Payan of the stop sign at the intersection moments before Payan collided with Fuhrman’s Galant.
In the wake of Hernandez’s arrest, Sgt. Juan Ortega with Sunland Park Police, had a message for parents. “Keep an eye on your children. If somebody’s at your house, underage people at your house, make sure they are not drinking. Because if they are, you will be prosecuted,” the police sergeant said.