ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Police suspect a drunken teen headed to the State Fair is to blame for the death of a renowned Native American artist .
Tyler Jirón, 16, of Bosque Farms, is currently in the Bernalillo County juvenile jail charged with vehicular homicide.
According to Albuquerque police, a group of teens stopped for food on the way to the fair Monday night.
They say Jirón was drunk when he hit Rayono Smith's car while trying to back into a parking space outside a Twisters restaurant near Menaul Boulevard NE and Princeton Avenue.
Smith apparently came out of the adjoining Subway sandwich shop, confronted the teen and jumped on the hood of his truck to keep him from fleeing. But the Jirón kept going up Princeton, and Smith fell off onto Claremont Avenue suffering fatal injuries as the teen fled, according to police.
A 911 caller alerted police to a body on Claremont, and police initially suspected Smith had gotten into a fight and been beaten to death.
Smith, who is from Grants, was well-known for his turquoise jewelry. His family said he was in Albuquerque getting supplies when he was killed.
Later that night the teen crashed into a truck and barrier on Interstate 25 near the Lead Avenue exit as he was headed to the Isleta pueblo, police said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
No one was injured in that crash, but police allege the boy became combative and in the course of a struggle broke an officer's thumb. Jirón also registered at least 0.16 in a Breathalyzer test, more than twice the legal limit for presumed intoxication under state law, police said.
He was initially charged with aggravated DWI due to his alcohol level, reckless driving and resisting an officer.
Since the Jirón's vehicle match the description from Smith's death, city and Isleta Pueblo police began digging deeper. After two days of additional investigation Jirón was arrested on a warrant charging vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence.
He is currently being held without bond.
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