Jury: Police Department not liable in man’s death

LAS CRUCES – A jury found the Las Cruces Police Department not liable for the death of Alvin Moore, 68, who was struck and killed by a man engaged in a high-speed pursuit in 2005.

After a six-and-a-half-day trial, a 12-person jury cleared the city and the department of liability in a unanimous decision in Judge Michael Murphy’s courtroom in 3rd Judicial District Court on Tuesday afternoon.

Moore, who lived at the Bruce Motel at 800 S. Main, was in the crosswalk on the southeast corner of Main Street and El Paseo Road, headed to Denny’s restaurant, when Carlos Preciado, then 24, struck him at 7:07 a.m. July 25, 2005. Moore was pronounced dead at the scene. The ensuing police pursuit, ranging from 90 to 120 mph, lasted 10 more minutes after Preciado allegedly ran a red light and struck Moore.

The lawsuit sought unspecified damages on behalf of Moore’s four adult children.

Preciado, now 29, is still awaiting trial on charges of murder, robbery, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and aggravated fleeing an officer.

Representing the city, Damien Martinez, of Holt, Babington, Mynatt and Martinez, argued that officers acted within the scope of their duties and were in full compliance of police procedures and the law.

“This unanimous verdict proves that the city of Las Cruces has an extremely qualified and highly trained police department, with officers who work well under pressure and who are capable of making proper split-second decisions,” said city manager Robert Garza in a prepared release. “It sends a message to the public that we trust our police officers and are proud of the work they do.”

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