ROOSEVELT COUNTY, NM (KAMR/KCIT) – New Mexico Court of Appeals officials ruled Tuesday that a wrongful death lawsuit involving the Roosevelt County sheriff will go to trial after a federal court initially denied the request.
According to court documents, the original lawsuit stems from an incident in early 2016, where law enforcement officers used an unmarked vehicle to block Irisema Hernandez’s white Lincoln in a motel parking lot and impede Hernandez. to leave the parking lot. Officials believed at the time that Hernandez was violating his terms of release. Officers including Sheriff Malin Parker approached the vehicle with firearms, and the Lincoln then pulled out of the parking lot, hitting Parker in the process.
Documents indicate Parker chased the Lincoln for five minutes. Officers eventually saw that Hernandez’s Lincoln had been forced off the road and hit a tree. Hernandez later died from injuries sustained in the collision.
Hernandez’s estate filed suit in New Mexico federal court against Parker, along with the Roosevelt County Board of Commissioners and the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Department. Parker “claimed qualified immunity”, which the federal court ultimately granted, dismissing the estate’s claims against the defendants.
The documents indicate that several claims brought by the Hernandez estate, including negligence as well as assault and battery claims, were not actually litigated and decided in federal court, with officials quashing and dismissing for other procedures.
Eric Dixon, the estate’s attorney, said in a press release that the estate believes there is no need for a high-speed chase in the incident.
“We intend to continue to vigorously pursue this legal action to avoid another needless death following a high-speed chase,” Dixon said in the statement.