LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) — The suspects accused of hitting and killing a man in Las Cruces on Monday have both been taken into custody.
Another victim, a 60-year-old man, who was also allegedly struck is recovering at University Medical Center in El Paso.
Doña Ana County jail records show that both 40-year-old Heather Mariah Grace Funk and 34-year-old Earnest Thomas Fudge were arrested just after 6 p.m. on Thursday. Shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, they turned themselves in at the Las Cruces Police Department.
According to the booking report, Funk has been charged with two counts of leaving the scene and two counts of failure to stop and render aid.
Fudge is facing a charge for harboring or aiding a felon. He’s also facing larceny charges and two counts of assault against a household member.
KTSM 9 News obtained the affidavit. It shows that following the alleged hit-and-run crash, Funk contacted an acquaintance. Funk reportedly told the acquaintance to delete any Ring security device videos from his doorbell camera of her and Earnest Fudge at his residence, because police would be asking for it.
The acquaintance later picked up both of the suspects, who were hiding at an alley near Chaparro Street and gave them a ride to his apartment.
Court documents show that during the ride, Funk told the acquaintance that they hit someone who walked out in front of their car. She then allegedly said she didn’t stop because she did not want to go back to prison.
Earlier Thursday, the Las Cruces Crimestoppers offered a $1,000 reward for information on the whereabouts of the suspects.
Family mourns death
Jaime Valenciano, 43, was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street near the intersection of Espina Street and Arizona Avenue in Las Cruces on Monday. Valenciano died at the scene. His family told KTSM 9 News they can’t understand why the driver didn’t stop.
“What if they had a chance to be revived and these people are just so cruel and they just leave the scene without even bothering to check the person or call for medical attention,” said Mariah Estrada the Daughter of Jamie Valenciano.
Valenciano was a father of three and had two grandchildren. His daughter said he never got to meet his newest grandbaby.
“Because of the whole COVID situation, he didn’t have a chance to hold him to see him … to meet him,” said Estrada.
Although Valenciano and the other man were not in a designated crosswalk when they were hit according to LCPD, the person driving still should have stopped.
“There may have not been a crosswalk but I have would have seen a pedestrian crossing the street I would do the right thing and stop,” said Estrada.
“It’s an area where it is very dimly lit and a driver would not have able to see them very easily, that being said the person who was driving that vehicle should have stopped, rendered aid and dialed 911 immediately,” said Dan Trujillo, a spokesperson for the Las Cruces Police Department.
LCPD added that this was the third hit-and-run accident in the past three weeks.
Detectives said the vehicle driven by the suspects was located by police and had significant damage consistent with it being involved in a hit-and-run. Investigators were able to obtain a search warrant for the vehicle and located documents inside that belonged to both Funk and Fudge.
Valenciano’s family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses.