Victim Of Chief Medina’s Reckless Driving Comes Forward And Speaks Out About Injuries; Demands That Chief Be Held Accountable; Lawsuit To Be Filed; Mayor Keller Eviscerated For Praising Medina’s Conduct; Keller Unequivocally Endorses Medina Before Progressive Activists; COMMENTARY: Charge Medina With Reckless Driving And Terminate For Cause For Violating APD Standard Operating Procedures

On February 17 APD Chief Harold Medina and his wife were in an unmarked APD truck on their way to participate in a press conference with Mayor Tim Keller when Medina decided to stop and call for APD to clear a homeless encampment.  According to Medina, he witnessed two people getting into a fight and a gun was pulled and pointed towards Medina and his wife and a shot was fired.  In response to the gun fire, Medina admitted to taking off driving through a red light saying there was no oncoming traffic which was proven false by a surveillance video.

Driving through on coming traffic, Medina drove South through 3 lanes of traffic on Central and T-Boned a  gold colored 1966  Ford Mustang. The driver of the Mustang called for medical assistance himself and was then taken to the hospital in critical condition. The driver underwent 7 hours of surgery for his injuries. Neither Medina nor his wife sustained any serious injury.  Both vehicles were likely totaled. Medina admitted he did not have his lapel camera on and referred the accident to the Superintendent of Police Reform for investigation. Chief Medina has yet to be charged with any traffic violations.


On February 17 during a news conference after the crash, Mayor Tim Keller reacted to the entire car crash by heaping highly questionable praises on Chief Medina and not even mentioning the victim of the car crash by saying this in part:

[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.Whether it’s our city or the individuals that he helped or potentially the lives that he saved because of the shooting that was happening, we all owe him a debt of gratitude today.”

A full week after the crash, Mayor Keller was interviewed and 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.”  

On Tuesday, February 20, Chief Medina did a “Chief’s Corner” video briefing which was sent to all APD personnel.  He announced that it was a “special edition” of his Chief’s corner to discuss the February 17 car crash with APD personnel. Medina said this this in part:

“I was the victim of this traffic accident, and it’s a direct impact of what gun violence is doing to our community. And we need to continue to work at it. I did call out I did submit to a drug test, as any officer would.”

Medina said he was sorry for the man who was injured and wished him “a speedy recovery.”  Medina said “We did try to reach out to him and he is not ready to speak to us, and that’s not surprising.”  On March 27, it was reported that Chief Medina tried to visit the injured man in the hospital but was told by his family they did not want to see him. A spokesman for the the victims family attorney  said the victim’s family “were only informed an unidentified officer was trying to visit them, and on advice of their attorney they did not communicate with her or she.” 


On March 11, this blog reported that Confidential sources revealed the identity of the driver of the Gold Mustang to be Todd Perchert who posted on his FACEBOOK page a photo of himself in a hospital bed with an oxygen tube in his nose. His post said this:

“Broken clavicle, scapula, 8 ribs, tube in lung, and stiches on head and ear. Plus epidural feeding pain meds to spine.

Thank you all for continued prayers.

Most likely will have surgery to put plates on ribs.

Had looked forward to Fox King and Country at Calvery this am …

Continued prayers appreciate.

Thank you!


The social media post and photo of the victim in the hospital was soon taken down most likely under advice of counsel. The FACEBOOK page is replete with numerous photos of the gold classic Ford Mustang as the proud owner travels the highways and outdoors of New Mexico reflecting great pride over ownership of the vehicle.


On March 27, Todd Perchert, who is age 55, along with his wife and his attorney held a press conference to discuss the February 17 car crash. It was revealed that the city has been placed on notice that a lawsuit for damages will be filed. All 3 had very sharp words for Mayor Tim Keller and Chief Medina.  Surprisingly,  Perchert proclaimed they are not calling for the Chief’s Medinas resignation, but are looking for accountability and compensation for all the injuries Medina inflicted. Perchert’s attorney says they have questions about why Medina stopped in the first place and without his lapel camera on. Perchert said the actions of Chief Medina have left him with life-altering injuries.

Todd Perchert  gave his version of the events. Perchert said on Saturday, February 17, he was cruising down Route 66 in his family heirloom car, a gold 1966 Ford Mustang. His plan was to head from the Route 66 Diner to a Mustang Club meetup at the Atomic Museum, but he never made it.  He said it was the perfect day for cruising in his 1966 Mustang.

Todd Perchert said he never expected his life would be turned upside down by APD Chief Medina. Todd Perchert said this:

“It was so fast I don’t think I had time to even brace for it. … As I approached the intersection of Central and Alvarado, I clearly recall seeing the green light before going through the intersection. Then all of a sudden, I saw a black truck come out of nowhere and slammed into me on the driver’s side. … The grille was mostly what I saw as I sat eye-level, and I remember the sound quite well.”

It has been confirmed by video of the accident that the grill of Harold Medina’s APD issued  truck slammed into his driver’s side in a spray of shattered glass and a shriek of twisted metal.

In the aftermath of the crash, Perchert said he was trying to get someone to call his wife and he said this:

“As the car came to a stop, I saw a woman step toward me and said I should call 9-1-1 which I did. At this point, the pain hit me. I couldn’t sit up and just leaned over the center console. Another woman came over and said I was bleeding while trying to talk with the emergency operator on the phone, I couldn’t breathe making it difficult to talk. …  I kept reiterating that I needed someone to call my wife who was out of town for work. At one point I looked down and realized even though everything in the car had flown all over the place, the bible I kept on the center console was what was propping up, it was squarely under my left hand, holding me up. That’s when I knew God was with me.

Perchert was crushed in the crash, and had  to be dragged out of the passenger side of his car. On his left side, he sustained a broken collarbone, shoulder blade, eight broken ribs, and a collapsed lung.  Perchert said this:

“Titanium plates have been put on all but the two top ribs, which was a seven-hour surgery. … [I have]  been in constant pain since the crash. … When I saw the actual video of the accident, I was like, surprised I came out with what I got. … I’ll have the metal in my chest for the rest of my life, so you know the bones could heal up…but any complications that could arise from that, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Danielle Perchert, Todd Perchert’s wife, said she was not in town at the time of the accident but on the East Coast for work as a first responder. She said she found out from police about her husband’s crash over the phone.  In an very emotional interview,  she had this blunt assessment of Chief Medina’s actions and a few choice words for Mayor Tim Keller:

“In my head, all I kept hearing was, ‘the police chief was running away, he was running away. He was running away. And my husband is injured because he was running away.  … My husband’s injuries due to the chief’s reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others were secondary and blown off as if no concern by the APD spokesperson, and the mayor.  To make things worse, the mayor praised the chief’s actions. That made me sick. … That behavior is not to be praised.”

Todd and Danielle Perchert said they were very upset to see Keller praising Medina directly after the crash during a press conference.  Danielle Perchert noted how Medina and Keller could be seen “smiling and hugging at the scene”  in one news report and, at some point, two officers could be seen opening the hood of the classic Mustang “checking out the engine like they were at a car show. … I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing.” 

Danielle Perchert said their lives have changed and that they used to lead a very active lifestyle, and Todd had just begun training for half-marathons again.

Rehabilitation will be a very long and very painful process. …  now he is in constant pain, and has limited mobility. … This is my family, you know, I’m sorry, but how would they have reacted if that was their spouse or someone in their family? Someone would have been held accountable.” 

The Percherts say they’re not asking for the chief to resign, but say they want accountability and compensation for Todd’s injuries.  The Perchert’s said the Mustang, which was passed down to Todd from his uncle, and then his father shortly before he passed away, was totaled in the crash. He had owned it for 12 years.

Private attorney James Tawney, with the law firm Tawney, Acosta & Chaparro P.C., said he is representing Todd Perchert in a lawsuit against the city of Albuquerque.  He said tort a claims notice to file suite has already been sent to the city. Tawney said  it’s too early to know how much financial compensation they will ask for, and what sort of measures would be suitable to hold Medina accountable. The Percherts and their attorney claim Medina violated multiple state laws and department operating procedures. Tawney also said in the aftermath of the accident, more should have been done by the city and police officials to see just how Perchert was recovering ostensibly by seeking information on his care and recovery.

Attorney Tawney for his part said they are seeking accountability from Chief Medina  and had this to say about damages and raised a few questions that need answering:

“There’s no amount of money that will put him back into the place that he was before this crash. … We have questions why [Chief Medina]  pulled over in the first place in an unmarked vehicle with his wife in the car without his lapel camera on. Officers have been disciplined and terminated for similar unsafe driving practices. …  I don’t know why the New Mexico State Police didn’t investigate this, as opposed to our police department. I mean, that’s the first question.”

They’re also questioning why APD is doing its own internal investigation, rather than having another agency look into it, and why Medina was not issued a ticket for the crash.


APD officials say the internal investigation into the crash is ongoing and APD says a crash review board will decide whether the crash was preventable, and the internal investigation is ongoing to determine whether policies were followed during the entire incident. Based on those findings, the Superintendent of Police Reform will decide whether discipline is required. However, it will ultimately be Mayor Tim Keller who will decide if Medina should be disciplined. APD also said they would not speculate on the investigation’s outcome. Police are also still looking for the person who fired the gun.

Gilbert Gallegos, spokesperson for APD issued the following statement:

“We’re glad to see Mr. Perchert is recovering from his injuries. Because the internal investigation is on-going, we’re not going to speculate about the outcome. A crash review board will determine whether the crash was preventable, and the Internal Affairs investigation will determine whether policies were followed during the entire incident.  The Superintendent of Police Reform will decide whether discipline is required, based on those findings.”

Links to quoted and relied upon news sources are here:


APD Chief Harold Medina has admitted that he did not have his body camera on.  He has admitted that he ran a red light and T-boned another driver.  Surveillance video shows Medina cutting in between two other vehicles in oncoming traffic before accelerating at a high rate of speed through the intersection. The video shows Medina did not have his vehicle’s emergency equipment on. The video shows oncoming traffic with Medina first slowly inching between two vehicles and Medina then accelerates to a high rate of speed to cross to the South traveling lanes of Central and crashing into the driver’s side of the  Mustang that was traveling East on the South lanes of Central. Perchert is lucky to be alive and not killed at the time of  the accident.


It is Section 66-8-113 that defines and prohibits Reckless Driving and it states as follows:

  1. Any person who drives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others and without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property is guilty of reckless driving.
  2. Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be punished, notwithstanding the provisions of Section 31-18-13 NMSA 1978, upon a first conviction by imprisonment for not less than five days nor more than ninety days, or by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100), or both and on a second or subsequent conviction by imprisonment for not less than ten days nor more than six months, or by a fine of not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or both.
  3. Upon conviction of violation of this section, the director may suspend the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege for not to exceed ninety days.

Medina’s actions and the car crash fit the very definition of reckless driving by a person whodrives any vehicle carelessly and heedlessly in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others and without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger … any person or property.”  The entire accident could have been avoided had Medina simply taken a right hand turn onto Central in traffic, but instead he likely panicked out of fear for himself and his wife and recklessly drove forward into on coming traffic and t-boned Todd Perchert.

Chief Medina has not been charged and no explanation has been given by APD as to why.  Supposedly the scene was secured, but even then standard operating procedures were not followed. Any other APD officer involved in such a crash they are the cause of injuring another would have been charge and immediately placed on administrative leave pending a full investigation.


Chief Medina admitted that he did not have his body camera on during the February 17 incident and car crash.

It was in 2020 that the New Mexico legislature enacted New Mexico Statute § 29-1-18 which mandates the use of body cameras by law enforcement.  The statute reads in part as follows:

“A law enforcement agency shall require peace officers the agency employs and who routinely interact with the public to wear a body-worn camera while on duty, except as provided in Subsection B of this section. Each law enforcement agency subject to the provisions of this section shall adopt policies and procedures governing the use of body-worn cameras, including:

(1) requiring activation of a body-worn camera whenever a peace officer is responding to a call for service or at the initiation of any other law enforcement or investigative encounter between a peace officer and a member of the public;

(2) prohibiting deactivation of a body-worn camera until the conclusion of a law enforcement or investigative encounter;

(3) requiring that any video recorded by a body-worn camera shall be retained by the law enforcement agency for not less than one hundred twenty days; and

(4) establishing disciplinary rules for peace officers who:

(a) fail to operate a body-worn camera in accordance with law enforcement agency policies;

(b) intentionally manipulate a body-worn camera recording; or

(c) prematurely erase a body-worn camera recording in violation of law enforcement agency policies.

… .

Peace officers who fail to comply with the policies and procedures required to be adopted …  may be presumed to have acted in bad faith and may be deemed liable for the independent tort of negligent spoliation of evidence or the independent tort of intentional spoliation of evidence.

Chief Medina failed to comply with the statute by not having his body camera activated to record the encounter he had.  There are serious consequences for Chief Medina’s failure to abide by the statute. Under the statute, per Section 29-1-18(C), he “may be presumed to have acted in bad faith and may be deemed liable for the independent tort of negligent spoliation of evidence or the independent tort of intentional spoliation of evidence.”


Based on all the news accounts and the comments, statements and the admissions against interest and admissions of liability made by Chief Harold Medina, it is clear Medina violated one or more of APD’s Standard Operating Procedures.

Medina has admitted he did not have his police radio on in his truck which is a standard operating procedure violation. Medina also admitted he did not turn his body camera on in a timely manner which is a violation APD Standard Operating procedures. At no point did Medina have any emergency equipment on during or after the event which is another violation.

Medina violated the following specific APD Standard Operating Procedures:

  1. Chief Medina did not activate his “on body recording device” (OBRD) in a timely manner(Standard  Operating Procedure Section 2-8-4, “Use of On Body Recording Devices” and  2-8-5 “Mandatory Recordings”)
  2. Chief Medina involved his wife in a patrol and enforcement action when he decided to stop and investigate the homeless encampment and it escalated involving a felony resulting in her being placed in harm’s way. Chief Medina’s wife is not certified for APD ride along. (Standard Operating Procedure 1-6-4 Unauthorized Patrol Ride Along)
  3. Chief Medina  did not take his wife to a safe and convenient location before he attempted to take action and investigate. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-5, 2-5-4)
  4. Chief Medina did not have his vehicles emergency warning equipment engaged when he made the initiate stop to investigate nor when he took off to flee from the scene. (Standard Operating procedure 2-6, 2-6-4)
  5. Chief Medina did not drive his vehicle with due regard for the safety of others and drove with reckless disregard for the safety of others by running a red light and driving his vehicle without the vehicle’s emergency equipment on and when he ran the red light. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-6, 2-6-4)
  6. Chief Medina did not follow Standard Operating Procedures dealing with the investigation of “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-47 deals with “Crashes Involving Department Issued Vehicles”)
  7. Upon information and belief, Chief Medina has not prepared a Uniform Incident Report as required by Standard Operating Procedure. (Standard Operating Procedure 2-7, 2-7-4)


No sworn law enforcement officer, including APD Chief Harold Medina, is above enforcement of police standard operating procedures. A chief must follow standard operating procedures and be held accountable for any violations just like he holds all those officers of lesser rank he manages and even disciplines.

The APD policy for responding to calls says when officers are responding to a call they must “exercise due regard for the safety of all persons and property.” It adds that they have right of way while responding to a call, but it does not relieve them from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all others.

It’s more likely than not that Chief Medina will not face any discipline, given he is a command level and Mayor Keller has called Medina arguably the most important person right now in these times in our city.”  If this was a patrol officer making these same mistakes and violating Standard Operating Procedures, Chief Medina would most likely give them hours of suspension without pay or even flat out terminate them.  That is exactly what happened when a few years ago an APD officer ran a red light traveling at a high rate of speed and crashed into another vehicle seriously injuring himself and critically injuring a mother and her two children.   The case resulted in a multimillion-dollar judgement against city.


This whole car crash incident and how it has been handled further erodes the credibility of Chief Medina and Mayor Tim Keller whose reputations have already been damaged to a great extent by the ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the entire DWI Unit that has been implicated in a bribery and conspiracy scheme involving a prominent DWI defense attorney to dismiss cases. As recently as Monday, March 25, Mayor Tim Keller was asked at a meeting of upwards 75 community, progressive activists known as “Indivisible Nob Hill”  how can the public have any faith and confidence in APD after the scandal and why he has not fired Chief Harold Medina. Keller’s defense of Medina was alarming and was unequivocal wherein he gave credit to Chief  Medina for bringing down the city’s crime rates and progress in  implementing the Department Of Justice reforms under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement. Mayor Keller made no mention of the February 17 car crash and made it clear that he has no intention of taking any action to remove Chief Harold Medina expressing 100% confidence in Medina.


It is downright disgusting that Mayor Tim Keller has tried to make out Chief Medina as some sort of a hero when he never confronted any one and in fact fled the scene out for self-preservation to himself and his wife.  It’s even more disgusting how Medina had the nerve to say “I was the victim of this traffic accident” when in fact he suffered no injuries as he put an innocent civilian in the hospital in critical condition.

Both Keller and Medina are an embarrassment to the city with Keller doing whatever he can to shield his appointed police chief from being held 100% accountable  for an accident that caused serious bodily injury to a law-abiding citizenThe city council’s failure to vote for an independent investigation is a reflection that they simply want to ignore their oversight responsibilities of a department unable to police itself.

APD Chief Harold Medina must be held 100% responsible for the car crash critically injuring a private citizen and sending him to the hospital. Chief Medina should be charged with Reckless Driving and be terminated “for cause” for the violations of APD’s Standard Operating procedures. The City Council should move immediately to remove Chief Harold Medina sooner rather than later given Mayor Tim Keller’s blind loyalty to a police chief he is not willing to remove for cause.

Links to previous and related blog articles are here:

Albuquerque Journal Pete Dinelli Guest Opinion Column “Chief Medina Should Be Fired And Prosecuted In Connection to Crash”

APD Chief Medina And Wife In Car Crash While Fleeing Gunfire In City Vehicle; Driver Of Other Car Sent to Hospital In Critical Condition; Chief Medina Likely Violated Numerous Standard Operating Procedures; Mayor Tim Keller Should  Place Medina On Administrative Leave And Request BCSO Or State Police To Investigate Incident

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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.