The District Attorney's office said on Friday it has determined the suspect in a drunken-driving traffic death on Wednesday was previously convicted of vehicular homicide.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien said Joe Raymond Gallegos, arrested Wednesday night after he allegedly struck a woman, Delandra Pioche, 32, is the same person previously charged and convicted of two counts of reckless homicide by motor vehicle.

"In looking at the records that we have been able to get at this point, what I can say is it appears he was convicted of two counts of vehicular homicide," O'Brien said.

O'Brien said they were able to determine it was Gallegos who was arrested on July 27, 2003 and charged with DWI homicide in the death of Joseph Vigil, 49, and Manuel Ruiz, 28.

"That information is generally accurate and we'll end up verifying that with obtaining the documents from the jurisdiction where it happened," O'Brien said.

Vigil was the former superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools.

Gallegos, a contract driver of the Daily Times, is facing multiple charges in connection with Wednesday's fatality — including homicide by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, tampering with evidence and possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute.

He is being held in San Juan County Adult Detention Center with bail set at $500,000. He will have a preliminary hearing Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.

O'Brien said Gallegos' prior history could factor into his sentence if convicted.


"Any prior felony convictions can enhance his sentence," O'Brien said. "If he was subsequently convicted of a felony and if any DWI convictions can enhance his sentence. Until we actually have the time to research that, look for other history of DWI, aside from the one we see, I won't know if we can enhance the sentence."

Aside from the two counts of vehicular homicide, O'Brien did not rule out the possibility of more criminal activity in the past from the suspect as the investigation continues.

O'Brien said Gallegos doesn't have any other known convictions. "Not that he has been convicted of but that doesn't mean it's not out there," O'Brien said. "There is evidence of other criminal activity but until we actually track it down from that jurisdiction, we don't know."

Gallegos pleaded no contest to DWI homicide in 2004 in Estancia District Court and was sentenced to seven years in prison and five years of probation.

Dolly Otero, Victim Advocate for Mothers Against Drunk Driving said most people don't realize the organization doesn't solely on drunk driving.

"A lot of people don't realize Mothers Against Drunk Driving is just not about drunk driving but drugged driving too," Otero said. "Both are illegal with same statutes."

Otero has been following the case and she said since Gallegos gave a public apology in relation to the Ruiz and Vigil case on camera, she thought he had learned his lesson.

"He apologized on camera. He said, it was a going to be a lesson for him," Otero said. "For him to say that publicly and not follow through, that's disappointing."

According to Farmington Police, Pioche was in the road, retrieving something when she was struck and thrown into the air and ran over.

Following the collision, Gallegos fled to a mobile home.

Arrested on suspicion of DWI, Gallegos had appeared under the influence of narcotics and had allegedly failed a field sobriety test.