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Colorado families seeking justice after wrong-way driver kills 2, injures another

Victims of New Mexico crash
Victims of New Mexico crash
Posted at 5:00 PM, May 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-15 21:31:37-04

NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- The families of the victims involved in a deadly wrong-way crash in New Mexico are seeking justice, and they want the accused driver to spend time behind bars.

Armando Robles is still struggling to come to terms with what happened to his family on the morning of May 1.

"It's hard, especially doing two funerals for family members," he said.

His brother Diego Robles Arellano, his cousin Fernando Arellano and his cousin's uncle, Alfredo Escaname, were heading down from Colorado to visit family in Juarez, Mexico.

But the three of them never made it. A wrong-way driver crashed into them on I-25 in New Mexico, killing Diego and Alfredo. As of Saturday morning, Fernando was still fighting for his life in a hospital.

The damage to the family's SUV -- which was shown in body-camera video taken by Bernalillo County, New Mexico, sheriff's deputies -- made it unrecognizable.

"[Diego is] the baby in the family. Alfredo was the baby in their family, too. Fernando's the baby in their family," Armando said.

Deputies identified the suspect as 29-year-old Brandon Roybal Barber, an officer with the Cuba, New Mexico, Police Department and a member of the National Guard.

Barber claims he wasn't drinking much before the crash, but deputies say evidence at the scene proved otherwise.

"There's an open container in the vehicle. You were actually driving possibly the wrong way on the freeway," a deputy told Barber as he laid on a hospital bed. "And also, there's the red, bloodshot, watery eyes, strong odor of alcohol."

Barber is facing several charges, including homicide by vehicle (DWI). Prosecutors tried to keep him in jail until his trial, but a judge released him. His release conditions, for example, prevent him from driving a vehicle or leaving his home between 8 p.m.-5 a.m.

"We don't want other families going through what we're going through because he decides to drink and drive," Armando said. "He gets to go back to his family, and my brother, Alfredo [and] Fernando, they can't."

Armando says the victims' families will not give up until Barber is behind bars. He just hopes the court system treats him like any other citizen and not a man with a badge.

"He took my son's uncle away," he said. "He took all that from us."

There are GoFundMe fundraisers for both Fernando and Alfredo if you'd like to help the families with any expenses.