Woman charged in deadly crash released from jail

By John Miller
Posted 12/31/18

A Ranchos de Taos woman charged in a Dec. 21 crash that injured eight people and killed one was released from jail last week.


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Woman charged in deadly crash released from jail


A Ranchos de Taos woman charged in a Dec. 21 crash on State Road 68 that killed one of her relatives and injured eight other people, including three children, was released from jail last week.

Iesha Hartt, 25, was initially booked into the Taos County Adult Detention Center without bond on three charges the night of the crash: homicide by vehicle, abuse of a child and DWI.

During Hartt's first appearance in Taos Magistrate Court on Wednesday (Dec. 26), however, Chief Judge Ernest Ortega ruled to release the 25-year-old on a $10,000 unsecured appearance bond, which is only payable if Hartt fails to appear for future court dates.

Other conditions imposed by the court require that Hartt not consume alcohol or drugs. She will also be required to undergo drug and alcohol treatment with Río Grande Alcohol Treatment Program and must wear a SCRAM unit, a device that measures the level of alcohol in a person's system by testing samples of sweat.

An investigation by the Taos County Sheriff's Office found that Hartt was under the influence of alcohol when she attempted to pass a line of traffic and crashed head on with two other vehicles the night of Dec. 21 near Stakeout Drive.

Celeste Montoya, Hartt's 29-year-old relative, was killed while riding in the front passenger seat of the red Audi Hartt drove the night of the crash. Three children riding in the back seat of the vehicle were seriously injured.

A gold Ford sedan overturned when it was struck by the Audi, and a third vehicle, a black Toyota sedan, was badly damaged. At least two people were trapped inside the Ford when it overturned and had to be extricated by first responders before they could be transported to Holy Cross.

Deputies interviewed Hartt at the scene of the crash, and said she displayed "obvious signs of impairment and later admitted to having consumed alcohol before driving," according to Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe. She was also given a breath test, which showed her alcohol content to be 0.11.

Hartt shares a child with Rafael Orozco, a convicted felon, according to the sheriff's office.

In 2016, Orozco was accused of striking Hartt and slapping their newborn child at Holy Cross Hospital, causing a lockdown at the facility. Orozco fled capture for two months before he was arrested on battery charges related to the incident. In August, Taos District Court Judge Sarah Backus issued a bench warrant for Orozco's arrest, less than two weeks after Orozco was granted a conditional release.

As of press time, Orozco's case was still pending in district court.

Hartt is scheduled to appear for a preliminary examination in magistrate court Jan. 10 at 9:30 a.m.


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