New Mexico instructor killed in accident in Albuquerque

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A Roswell man faces murder charges in a September crash that killed his girlfriend. The victim in this crash was Sarah Cardenas, 27. Her family says the mother and preschool teacher loved helping people in need, and those two months without them were the worst pain they have ever experienced.

“She was the one who kept us together, a big part of the family,” said Aldo Cardenas, Sarah’s brother, when he was sitting with her sister Irasema. “That was our big sister. A role model for us, both for me and for her. She always made sure that we had what we needed. “

The 27-year-old was a pre-k teacher in Ruidoso. She was known for making everyone smile in her presence.

“She always laughed, she had an infectious laugh, always happy,” said Anselmo Cardenas Jr., Sarah’s father. “She had good dreams, good plans to build a house. She wanted to do her master’s degree. “

Now the wreath and cross are honoring her memory at the crash site where she lost her life on September 12th – broken glass from the windows, still embedded in the dirt. Police say Sarah’s friend Julio Garcia Jr. was too fast before his car hit a power pole and overturned. She was dead when the police arrived.

“I had just spoken to her maybe 30 minutes earlier,” said Aldo. “My father and I had facetime calls from her about three hours before the accident.”

Her brother said the couple had just left an event at Sandia Speedway near the MDC in Albuquerque, just up the street from the crash site. Court records say witnesses reported drinking at the event since early afternoon.

Garcia’s blood toxicology didn’t come back until October 19 – with levels more than double the legal limit – but more than a month has passed since then. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office says the lead investigator was on leave until recently and this was the first opportunity to file the warrant where Garcia was taken into custody in Roswell. Sarah’s family say even though they’re glad someone is blamed, they still mourn.

“We still don’t know exactly what happened,” said Anselmo. “Whatever happens, it won’t bring my daughter back, but I hope something changes somewhere.”

Sarah’s memory now lives on in the students she taught at Sierra Vista Primary and her young daughter, Miah. The Cardenas family also want to make sure that this type of tragedy does not happen to anyone else.

“Many knew her. She was a great teacher, ”said Aldo. “If only it can stop a lot of people from making wrong decisions about drinking and driving.”

Sarah’s mother Rosa hopes this tragedy can stimulate more assertiveness against drunk driving, such as DWI checkpoints after events that involve alcohol. Garcia is being held in Chaves County Detention Center until he is transported to Bernalillo County.

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