Driver Of Pickup That Killed Five People Dies At Hospital
Victims In Van Were All Family Members
1:34 AM, Nov 13, 2006
A motorist with at least five DUI convictions in Colorado has died in New Mexico after allegedly killing five members of a Las Vegas, N.M., family on Interstate 25. Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano said Dana Papst, 44, of Tesuque, N.M., had been driving a pickup the wrong way on Interstate 25 near Santa Fe when he hit a minivan head-on early Saturday. Papst was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died Sunday morning while in surgery. Solano said blood samples taken at the hospital showed Papst had a blood-alcohol content of .32 -- four times the state's legal limit for driving.An open can of beer found in Papst's truck and the smell of alcohol first alerted investigators to the possibility alcohol was involved, the sheriff said.The family that died was returning from a soccer match in Bernalillo, N.M. Paul Gonzales, 36; his wife, Renee Collins-Gonzales, 39; their daughters Jacqueline Gonzales, 11; Selena Gonzales, 11; and Alicia Garcia, 17, who was Paul Gonzales' stepdaughter, died. Solano said 15-year-old family member Arissa Garcia survived, suffering a broken left forearm, a minor fracture to her hip, and bruises on her chest and head.Papst sideswiped several other vehicles before slamming into the minivan, KOAT TV in Albuquerque reported. One of the vehicles that was sideswiped was driven by a 61-year-old woman from Golden, Colo. She was not seriously injured.Solano said a check of Colorado records indicated that Papst had been arrested five times in Colorado for driving under the influence of alcohol. He also said Papst had been convicted of drunken driving three times.A memorial service for the family was held Monday in Las Vegas. Students at schools there signed pledges to never drink and drive."This affects all of us, elementary kids -- Jacqueline and Selena went to Union, middle and high school students -- Arissa and Alicia were students at the high school and Renee was the middle school nurse," said Principal Gene Parson. "Paul was totally involved in many activities in Las Vegas and on her time off, Renee, was an emergency room nurse who loved what she did with a passion."