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Deputy involved in pedestrian crash placed on administrative leave; victim's family speaks to KFOX 14

By: Gina Benitez and Jamel Valencia
DONA ANA COUNTY, N.M. -- A deputy with the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office was taken off duty while state police investigate a crash that killed a 44-year-old woman.

The deputy, who has not been identified, was driving a patrol unit that allegedly struck Natividad Nunez who was walking along N.M. 192 near Sequoia Street around 8 p.m. Tuesday.

"I'm very hurt, I want to cry because they took away someone very dear to me," said Lupe Garcia, Nunez' sister-in-law.

The deputy was on her way to an emergency call, said sheriff's officials.

"A beautiful lady. She was like a little girl. She didn't hurt nobody, everybody in this town loved her," Garcia said.

Sheila Martinez, who lived near the scene, said she was inside when she heard what sounded like an explosion.

She said she came outside to help but authorities wouldnt let her near the scene.

"When the cop got out of the car, she knew she hit a pedestrian and she said, 'I hit somebody.' With all the dust everywhere, we couldn't see where anybody was at but when the dust cleared, we saw her laying right there," Martinez said.

Martinez said those who enforce the laws in the area, don't always obey them.

"The cops always speed through here. Always," Martinez said.

Martinez said she didnt know who was hit at first, but she later recognized Nunez someone she knew as a good friend.

Now, Nunez' loved ones wait for answers and some sort of closure.

"She was a very good person. She just liked to talk to people and she always would walk through here and talk to everybody," Martinez said.

"I'm very sad, of course, I want to cry. I haven't slept," Garcia said.

While New Mexico State Police investigate, the deputy will be on administrative leave.

More about the crash