By Andrew Hay
TAOS, N.M. (Reuters) -Fifteen people were injured when a drunken driver plowed through a Native American parade in Gallup, New Mexico, on Thursday night, according to state police and officials.
Dancers jumped out of the way and screaming parents pulled children from the path of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV as it hit police and bystanders before colliding with a patrol car, officials said.
“There is no reason to suspect this crime was motivated by hate,” New Mexico State Police said in a statement, adding that none of the injuries were life threatening.
The driver was identified as Jeff Irving, 33, of Pinedale, New Mexico and charged with driving while intoxicated, 15 counts of bodily harm and other offenses, the statement said.
It was not immediately possible to speak with Irving in the local jail or determine whether he had retained a lawyer.
The incident began when police were told Irving and two other men were sitting drinking alcohol in the vehicle parked on the parade route.
“Contact was made, the driver put the vehicle in drive and proceeded to strike police officers, pedestrians, vehicles and a business,” City Manager Maryann Ustick said in a statement. The two other men in the Tahoe were taken into custody, she said.
Videos from bystanders showed the beige Tahoe drive at high speed through the Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial parade as dancers and onlookers scattered.