Las Cruces Pedestrian Dies Two Weeks After Being Hit

Las Cruces – An 85-year-old man who was struck Dec. 1 by a vehicle on west Picacho Avenue has died at an El Paso hospital.

At around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010, Refugio Miranda was attempting to cross Picacho Avenue at Melendres Street when he was struck by an eastbound GMC Yukon. Miranda was treated at the scene and then airlifted to University Medical Center of El Paso where he remained in intensive care.

Las Cruces Police traffic investigators learned that Miranda was removed from life support on Dec. 14. An autopsy will be performed to determine the exact cause of Miranda's death.

The driver of the Yukon was 27-year-old Gabriel A. Soltero of Las Cruces. Soltero's vehicle appeared to be in the outside lane, heading east, when it struck Miranda. Witnesses to the crash have told detectives that Miranda was in the crosswalk when he was struck.

Soltero has been cited for failing to yield for a pedestrian, driving without insurance and driving on a suspended license. The investigation continues and additional charges again Soltero are possible.

The vehicle Soltero was driving was seized under the city's DWI forfeiture ordinance.

The DWI Forfeiture Program, which started in February 2005 following city council authorization, is an effort to reduce the number of motorists who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The program allows police to seize vehicles following a second or subsequent DWI offense.

Those offenses could range from driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DWI or drug offense, or a violation involving a vehicle interlock system.