ALAMOSA — Angel Nieto, 31, Alamosa, entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday in connection with a January 16 fatal hit and run.
Nieto is accused of leaving his fatally injured passenger, Marcie Quintana, 24, at the scene of an accident on that date on Highway 285 near Alamosa. Quintana was unconscious when emergency responders arrived on the scene of a crash involving the Chrysler that Nieto had been driving and a Ford Ranger driven by a Capulin teenager, who was not injured. Quintana subsequently died at the Alamosa hospital.
The Colorado State Patrol, which investigated the crash, believed alcohol and speed had contributed to the crash, in which Nieto lost control of his vehicle and it rotated into the opposite lane where it collided with the Ford Ranger.
Nieto remained a fugitive for about a week following the hit and run crash but was arrested on January 24 and has remained in custody on a vehicular homicide charge.
He appeared before District Judge Michael Gonzales on Tuesday with his attorney Public Defender Amanda Hopkins. Hopkins said Nieto would enter a not guilty plea on this and another case pending against him.
Hopkins also asked for more time so she could meet with Nieto, who is being held in the Chaffee County jail, which makes it more difficult for his attorney to meet with him.
Assistant District Attorney Ashley McCuaig said the victim’s family, who was present in the courtroom on Tuesday, wanted to keep the case moving forward. Judge Gonzales said now that a plea has been entered, a trial must occur within six months.
The court had continued Nieto’s first appearance in district court last month.
Judge Gonzales scheduled the next court date in this case for July 6 at which time he will schedule motions and the jury trial, which must be held within six months of the entry of plea unless the defendant waives his right to a speedy trial.