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Pinedale man arrested for crashing into parade route

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Two officers, 13 parade goers injured

A Pinedale man was arrested after he drove through parade barricades and hit several people during the opening parade of the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial Centennial Celebration.

The parade was in progress at approximately 7:50 pm on Aug. 4 when Gallup Police officers received a report of individuals drinking alcohol inside a beige Chevrolet Tahoe parked along the parade route in the area of South Seventh Street and West Coal Avenue.

As the Gallup officers approached the Tahoe to make contact with the occupants, the driver put the Tahoe into drive and took off, heading east on West Coal Avenue. The officers, who were still on foot, attempted to stop the driver but were unsuccessful. Both officers, who were later identified as Elijah Bowman and Gilbert Gonzales, were injured.

The Tahoe continued eastbound on West Coal Avenue toward parade participants while officers attempted to move spectators out of the SUV’s path.

The Tahoe then continued southbound on South Second Street and later east onto Highway 66. The Tahoe suddenly turned south and struck a parked vehicle. The vehicle then backed into a New Mexico State Police unit as officers moved in. The officers then removed the three people who were in the Tahoe and took them into custody.

Echelon Cadman was at the parade with her family, and she got pushed over when people were hurrying to get away from the SUV.

“… [All] of a sudden you heard people shouting and screaming ‘get out of the way, get out of the way’ and then that gold colored SUV came flying down and it started going eastbound, that’s all you could see,” Cadman said of the incident. “And then the crowd just took off and all you could see was people screaming. All you could hear was people running. I was getting up to not necessarily investigate, but to make a getaway, and I was shoved and I ended up on the ground.”

Cadman said that after she got pushed onto the ground, she laid there for about 15 seconds before getting up again. She said that while she was laying on the ground, all she could feel was shock and fear.

“First of all I was in disbelief, shocked, and then once I hit the pavement it was fear, like raw fear,” she said.

Cadman said a lot of families got separated, and people were yelling for their children and loved ones. She said that when the incident happened, her 14 year old son had been getting snacks, so it took some time for her to reunite with him and the rest of the people she had come to the parade with.

Fifteen people were transported to area hospitals after sustaining non-life-threatening injuries in this incident, including Bowman and Gonzales.

The driver of the vehicle has been identified as Jeff Kenn Irving, 33, of Pinedale, N.M. He is now facing charges of an aggravated DWI (2nd offense), accident involving injury/great bodily harm, 14 counts of an accident involving personal injuries that did not cause great bodily harm, aggravated fleeing, driving with a suspended/revoked license, expired registration, and driving without insurance.

Two passengers in the Tahoe, a 23-year-old male and a 29-year-old male, were detained and taken to the Gallup Detox Center.

At this time, there is no reason to suspect this crime was motivated by hate. In addition, no shots were fired during this incident. Contrary to rumors circulating on social media, there were no fatalities in this incident.

New Mexico State Police are leading this investigation. The investigation is being conducted in coordination with the Gallup Police Department. The New Mexico State Police Crash Reconstruction and Drone units are also assisting.

Mark Soriano, a spokesperson for the New Mexico State Police, said that the agency is dedicated to the safety and security of the people of New Mexico.

“The New Mexico State Police want to let the public know how seriously our agency takes matters of safety and security when it comes to events of this nature. We want the public to know - especially the community members in Gallup, and those who attend the Intertribal Ceremonial centennial celebration – we want to ensure them that the event is safe, and we want them to continue to attend the event […}. We encourage them to continue with their plans to celebrate this important milestone in Gallup,” Soriano said in an interview with the Sun.

State Police will provide an increased presence for the remainder of the 100th Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial to ensure a safe celebration, and the parade route for the Aug. 13 day parade has been changed.

The parade route will be on Route 66 and Coal Avenue between Eighth Street and Second Street. All streets, within this area, will be closed to on-street parking from 12 am to 3 pm. ADA parking is available in the Cultural Center parking lot.

By Molly Ann Howell
Sun Correspondent