Mark Arnold
Mark Arnold (Courtesy of San Juan County Adult Detention Center)

FARMINGTON — A Colorado man died Thursday at San Juan Regional Medical Center after a motorcycle crash Wednesday on U.S. Highway 550.

Alden Bertroch, a 67-year-old man from Glade Park, Colo., died at 6 a.m. Thursday, according to his niece, Laurena Davis.

Shortly before noon on Wednesday, Bertroch was traveling north on Highway 550, about 12 miles south of Bloomfield, and he collided with Mark Arnold, a 59-year old from East Ridge, Tenn., who was traveling in a motorcycle beside Bertroch.

Both men were taken to the hospital in Farmington. Arnold was treated and released on Wednesday, said New Mexico State Police Sgt. Micah Doering.

Arnold was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving because he had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol, Doering said. Paramedics who responded to the crash scene found a cooler with three beers and a nearly empty bottle of Canadian Mist whiskey, according to court documents.

Arnold refused to allow police to take a blood sample to test it for alcohol, but he did tell an officer that he had beer for breakfast, according to court documents.

Arnold has been charged with aggravated DWI. Doering said police are still investigating the crash, and more severe charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, could potentially be filed if police can prove that Arnold's drinking and driving caused the crash.

Doering said police have confirmed that Bertroch was not drinking alcohol at the time of the crash.

Davis said Bertroch was visiting friends in New Mexico. They were traveling from Albuquerque to Farmington when they crashed, according to court documents.

Bertroch was the 10th person to be killed in a crash on San Juan County roads this year and the third person to be killed in a wreck on U.S. 550 south of Bloomfield.

Four of the county's traffic fatalities this year happened on the Navajo Nation. Three of those deaths were from a drunken driving crash in Newcomb.

Ryan Boetel covers crime for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @rboetel on Twitter.