Mayor Keller Proclaims Critically Injured Driver Involved In Chief’s Accident “Wrong Place At The Wrong Time”; APD Family Ride Policy Under Scrutiny After Chief Medina’s  Weekend Crash; Both Keller And Medina Are Embarrassment With Their Words And Actions

On Saturday, February 17, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina and his wife were in an unmarked APD truck when the APD vehicle crashed into a classic, gold color Mustang after Medina ran a red light as he tried to avoid gunfire on East Central.  The crash scene was at Central and Alvarado where Chief Harold Medina was driving his unmarked police unit with his wife in the city issue truck. Medina reported  two people getting into a fight seconds before the chief said he heard a gunshot. The chief then took off through the intersection through a red light and crashed into a Ford Mustang, seriously injuring the driver of the Mustang. The driver of the Mustang was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

On February 17 during a news conference after the crash, Mayor Tim Keller reacted to the incident by saying this:

“[Getting the call about the crash was] one of those types of calls that I dread. … It always starts with, ‘There’s been an altercation with an officer, there’s been a shooting,’ and then I hear it’s the chief. So that is the worst way I ever want to start the day.  … Fortunately, in this case, I quickly learned he was OK.  … [Chief Medina is] arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city. … [The shooting incident is an example of] why we are never quitting when it comes to trying to make our city safer. … But it’s hard. It is extremely hard. It affects everyone, including our chief of police on a Saturday morning.”

“This is actually him on a Saturday morning, disrupting an altercation, a shooting, trying to do what’s right, trying to make sure that folks are okay after on scene. This is above and beyond what you expect from a chief, and I’m grateful for Harold Medina.  … For us, we need to continue that clarion call for at every single level to do everything we can to make our city safer.  We don’t know any details, but would not be surprised if there was fentanyl, or whatever other illegal substance could have been exchanged. These are the kinds of things that we absolutely have to address. And this is not going to change unless we have major steps that we can take at every level.


On February 21, APD released a surveillance video that shows Chief Harold Medina running a red light and crashing into the Ford Mustang seriously injuring the driver of the Mustang.

The surveillance video starts with the usual Saturday morning traffic on East Central. One man walks into the frame heading east while another man crosses Central, heading west. Within seconds they meet on the corner of Central and Alvarado and then you see the two men start fighting.  The two men can be seen fighting outside the Tewa Lodge motel, swinging their arms as the scuffle moves down the sidewalk. At the same time, Medina’s APD-issued unmarked truck can be seen inching out into Central.

Medina’s  truck drives into oncoming westbound traffic, between two vehicles, one of which appears to stop to avoid a crash. Medina’s truck then accelerates quickly across the two west bound lanes of Central and crashes into the classic Mustang headed east. The man who allegedly fired the gun appeared to watch the crash unfold before running down the sidewalk.

The surveillance video shows Medina  cutting  in front of another car before accelerating at a fast rate of speed  through the intersection. The video shows oncoming traffic with Medina first slowly inching between two vehicles traveling West on the North side lanes of Central and Medina then accelerating to cross to the South traveling lanes of Central at a high rate of speed and crashing into the Mustang that was traveling  East  on the South lanes of Central.

EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s highly likely that Medina could have avoided the entire crash by simply turning right to go West on Central as opposed to flooring his vehicle to go forward going South and attempting to turn left to go East. This would also had the immediate affect of driving the vehicle out of the line of fire with the motel building  providing an extent of obstruction.

The crash resulted in both vehicles doing a half circle turn in a counterclockwise direction. Medina’s truck came to rest against the southeast corner of the intersection with front end and rear end damage including a collapsed rear wheel reflecting an apparent broken axle. The Mustang was struck on the driver’s side with the door ripped opened and it also struck the south curb just east of the intersection and skid east before coming to rest, facing west, in the eastbound lane.

The links to news sources and video are here:


On February 21 after the city released video of the crash involving Albuquerque’s police chief that sent another driver to the hospital,  Mayor Tim Keller was asked what he thought of the video. Keller said this to KRQE News 13:

“You know I have not seen the video yet. I did know that we released it and I know our team in internal affairs and so forth is looking at it. I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, actually.  … We are very concerned about the victim, and this is a situation where it is a very,  very unfortunate combination of events that happened and they happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, and so we are worried about their condition, and we want to make sure there is a full recovery, and it was also a beautiful gold Mustang.”

The link to the quoted news source is here:


Mayor Tim Keller’s comments that he has not seen the released video are so very wrong on so many levels given Keller’s penchant for news coverage and how he gave comments the day of the accident. Medina’s car crash has generated extensive news coverage and its difficult to believe  Keller  when he says he has not seen the video or at least seen the nightly news coverage where the video and news stories  were published.

Only now, a full week after the crash,  does Keller show any concern about the injured driver of the other vehicle.   On February 17, Mayor Keller during his news conference about the car crash did not even mention the innocent driver of the Mustang who was hit by Medina. Keller did not even mention Chief Medina’s wife nor express any concern for her as well.  What is downright embarrassing and pathetic is the lengths to which Mayor Tim Keller went to praise Chief Harold Medina for his actions as some sort of a hero especially when he said “[Chief Medina is] arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city.” 

What is downright insulting is when Mayor Keller said the driver of the Mustang “happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time … and it was also a beautiful gold Mustang. ”  The blunt truth is the injured driver of the Mustang  was NOT at the “wrong place”.  He is the victim and an innocent bystander driving his vehicle obeying the law when and Chief Medina T-Boned him, critically injuring him and likely totaling both vehicles. It was Chief Medina who was in the wrong place and who broke the law by running a red light and he was not cited.  The type of car the victim  was driving is the last thing that should be on Keller’s mind.


Chief Medina’s crash where he and his wife were in an unmarked APD truck and crashed another vehicle is raising questions about APD’s rules surrounding family members in police units. On February 22, Medina said officers are allowed to have family members in their vehicle as long as they aren’t responding to a call. Medina said this was something he fought for in 2018. Medina said this:

“The number one thing is the safety of the community and our families. Sometimes it is a difficult balance for us to make sure we are able to accomplish that.  … In the past, I used to have SWAT officers when I was in the tactical session who actually went to the movie theater, their wife and kids went in one car, and they went in another car. They did the same thing for groceries, and it isn’t a good conducive lifestyle for the fact that we are asking these people to be on call 24/7.”

Medina said the  policy is  a good recruitment tool for officers but that doesn’t mean the department can’t revisit the policy.


It is Standard Operating Procedure 1-6 the deals with the APD “Patrol Ride Along Program” and   1-6-4 entitled Rules outlines ride along with police. The SOP states as follows:

“Eligibility for Participation in the Patrol Ride-Along Program

  1. The Patrol Ride-Along Program is neither a public relations program nor is it intended to satisfy a community member’s curiosity about police work.
  2. Professional Staff members and community members are permitted to participate in patrol ride-alongs for the purpose of meeting their training and educational needs.
  3. A professional staff member or community member who wants to participate in the Patrol Ride-Along Program must be eligible for the Department’s Volunteer Program or Internship Program, consistent with SOP Volunteer and internship Programs …

…  .

Unauthorized Patrol Ride-Along

Officers and PSAs shall abide by the Patrol Ride-Along requirements prior to authorizing any community member or professional staff member to ride along on patrol.”


It is 2-5 of APD Standard Operating Procedures that deal with use of APD issued department vehicles and Section 2-5-4 specifically deals with General Procedures For Department-Issue Vehicles and provides in part:

 “When operating a Department-issued vehicle, sworn personnel shall:

  1. Have their police radio on and tuned to the proper frequency for their location;
  2. While on-call, carry all necessary equipment for a call-out;
  3. Consistent with SOP Personnel Code of Conduct and SOP Uniforms, have in their possession a jacket or vest that clearly displays the Department insignia, their badge, identification card, handcuffs, body armor, radio, on-body recording device (OBRD), and firearm to effectively perform a police function. …

When responding to a felony call with non-sworn personnel as passenger(s), except for approved ride-along, first drop off the passenger(s) at a convenient and safe location, then respond to the call consistent with Department Standard Operating Procedures (SOP);

… .”


On Tuesday, February 20, Medina did a “Chief’s Corner” video briefing which was sent to all APD personnel where he appeared standing and in full dress uniform. He announced that it was a “special edition” of his Chief’s corner to discuss the February 17 car crash with APD personnel.

In his February 20 Chief Corner video, Chief Medina admitted that his wife has not been certified for police ride along with him. Medina said the SOP on police ride along has been relaxed by Mayor Keller where ride along forms to allow relatives to ride along with patrol officers and for personal use are no longer required.  In the video Medina says this:

“…we are not going to change processes or policies related to take home cars…the mayor fought hard in 2018 to make sure that we could have a life work balance…I’m going to make sure that uh you don’t have to fill out ride-along forms…”


The problem with Chief Medina’s statement that ride along are permitted by relatives is that APD Standard Operating Procedures do not reflect any changes that unauthorized Patrol Ride-Along are allowed for family members. APD officials are claiming  the fact that Medina had his wife in his unmarked APD car did not violate APD policy.

The simple truth is that no matter what Chief Medina thinks nor what APD says, Medina must be held accountable for willfully placing his wife in harms way.  APD officials have argued that Medina was not responding to a call for service. According to APD’s standard operating procedures, if an officer has a non-sworn passenger with them when they get a felony or emergency call, they have to drop off the passenger first and then respond.

APD said it would violate APD policy if Medina was responding to a felony or emergency response, but Medina was not responding to a call. The problem is Medina made the decision to be on patrol while his wife was in his city issued vehicle so he could call in homeless encampment and the incident evolved into a call for service involving a felony and the discharge of a firearm which is a circumstance why any ride along must be authorized.

The Medina car crash with his wife as a passenger is the very reason why the no relative policy in police cars while a police officer is on duty was initiated in the first place.


Both Mayor Tim  Keller and Chief Medina are an embarrassment to the City with their words and actions and how they have handled this incident that has resulted in a truly innocent by stander winding up in the hospital in critical condition as Keller proclaims “it was also a beautiful gold Mustang.”

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.