Recently in Drunk Driving Category

July 7, 2014

New Mexico State Police Officer Injured by Drunk Driver Late Last Month

A New Mexico State Police officer may feel lucky to be alive after being involved in a violent collision in Hobbes, New Mexico on June 29. The officer was in his vehicle on the side of Highway 62, performing a routine traffic stop just before 6:15 P.M., when a drunk driver smashed into the back of the officer's patrol car. According to one report, the car was nearly destroyed, and the officer was airlifted to a nearby hospital and admitted in critical condition. The vehicle that had been stopped by the police officer was also hit in the accident. The driver of that vehicle luckily only suffered minor injuries.
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New Mexico drunk driving accidents cause hundreds of injuries and deaths every year. In addition, Driving Under the Influence arrests are a leading cause of arrest in the state. In New Mexico, a driver is considered intoxicated if the concentration of alcohol in their bloodstream, or blood alcohol content (BAC), is .08% or higher. Drivers caught driving at or above this amount can be prosecuted for DUI. When a drunk driver causes an accident that results in property damage, injury, or death, he or she can face additional criminal charges, as well as civil liability for the damage caused.

Civil Liability for Drunk Driving Accidents

Victims of drunk driving accidents and their families often face significant expenses in the aftermath of an serious or fatal New Mexico drunk driving accident. Hospital expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages, and permanent injuries can financially cripple a victim, and drunk drivers can be held responsible for the damage that they cause. An accident victim or the affected family can file a New Mexico personal injury lawsuit against the drunk driver that caused the accident, and they may be able to recover damages in addition to any compensation offered by the insurance companies. The New Mexico legal system is designed to protect the victims of others' wrongdoing, and drunk drivers need to be held responsible for the damage that their dangerous conduct causes.

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June 26, 2014

New Mexico Jail Guard Resigns after Causing a Fatal Crash While Allegedly Driving Drunk

A detention officer at the Rio Arriba County Jail has resigned after he was involved in a crash that killed two New Mexico men last week. The jail employee, a 26-year-old man from El Rito, New Mexico, told witnesses and police that he had consumed between five and 12 beers in the hours leading up to the accident. The man was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide and has been released to house-arrest on a bond.

cerveja-1191066-m.jpgThe Accident

According to a report from Albuquerque ABC affiliate KOAT News, the man was driving on the wrong side of the road on U.S. 84 north of Espanola, New Mexico last Thursday when the crash occurred. Evidently, the corrections officer was off duty at the time of the crash and had not worked that day. After the collision that killed the occupants of the other car, two men aged 45 and 23, the jail employee admitted to police that he had had five beers before the accident occurred. Other witnesses report that, immediately after the accident, the man said that he had drunk 12 beers. Even after admitting to police that he had consumed alcohol, the man resisted a blood draw by authorities and was additionally charged with resisting an officer.

The Dangers of Driving While Intoxicated

It appears that this man's alcohol consumption played a large role in the cause of this tragic crash. In New Mexico, if a driver is found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of over .08%, he or she is considered to be driving under the influence and is subject to criminal charges. When a driver is involved in an accident and his or her intoxication appears to have played a role in the cause of the crash, the driver can be held criminally liable for any damage, injury, or deaths that occur from the accident. If someone is found guilty in a New Mexico drunk driving accident, they can be subject to severe criminal penalties and may find themselves behind bars for most, if not all, of their remaining years.

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April 19, 2014

Colorado Man Caught in New Mexico for Driving While Intoxicated for the Seventh Time

Earlier this week, a Colorado man was arrested in New Mexico for driving under the influence of alcohol. According to a report by KRQE, a police officer found an elk carcass in the road which aroused his suspicions. A few miles down the road, he found the man who they believe struck the animal. Police noticed that the man's breath smelled of alcohol and it was "very clear" that he was the one who had hit the animal.

night-life-2-1438557-2-m.jpgPolice arrested the man for driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving with a suspended license. Apparently this was the man's seventh drinking and driving offense.

Drinking and Driving is Taken Very Seriously in New Mexico

The above story is clearly an unusual circumstance, rarely do we see a driver with seven drinking while driving offenses. However, it is not rare to see a person with one or two of the offenses on their record. The State of New Mexico takes these offenses very seriously. In fact, even for a first time offender, a driver may face up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, and a year-long license suspension. For subsequent convictions, the jail time, fine, and duration of suspension increase dramatically. In some cases involving multiple offenses or serious bodily injury, jail sentences can be decades long.

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March 8, 2014

New Mexico Driver Collides With Another Vehicle and Crashes into a Light Pole, Killing One and Injuring Three

In a tragic accident last month, one woman was killed and three others were injured when their car clipped another vehicle and smashed head-on into a light pole. According to a report by a Fox affiliate KFOX15, the driver was speeding and drove through a red light at an intersection in Anthony, New Mexico, when he struck a car that was stopped at the traffic light and veered into a light pole. None of the occupants had their seat belts on, and the front seat passenger was ejected from the car and died on the scene. The other occupants were severely injured and airlifted to a hospital in El Paso, Texas.

According to the report, the car was speeding by at least 15 miles an hour when it entered the intersection, and there was no evidence that the driver applied the brakes before crashing. Police believe that the driver was drunk at the time, and that his intoxication played a role in the accident.

old-power-1306782-m.jpgDrunk, Negligent, and Reckless Driving in New Mexico

In New Mexico, drivers face various penalties for driving recklessly and causing injury, death or property damage. The driver from last month's accident can face criminal penalties for drunk or reckless driving, battery, and manslaughter. Additionally, the driver may be financially liable to the injured passengers and the family of the deceased woman. If the driver of the car had auto insurance, his insurance company could also be liable for damages. Accidents caused by drunk or reckless driving result in significant costs, and unfortunately the victims of these accidents can rarely afford the expense.

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March 5, 2014

"Dram Shop Laws" in New Mexico

Drunk driving accidents occur at a startling rate across New Mexico, injuring hundreds of New Mexicans each year. While the reasons behind drunk driving accidents vary, many times people over consume alcohol at clubs or bars and then get in their car and cause an accident. Awhile back, the State Legislature of New Mexico decided that it needed to hold these establishments liable for the over serving of their customers. These laws are called "Dram Shop laws," and they allow the victims of New Mexico drunk driving accidents to sue the establishment that over served the person who caused the accident.

wine-glasses-1245416-m.jpgNew Mexico's Dram Shop Laws: Madrid v. Brinker Restaurant Corporation

In a recent case in front of the Court of Appeals of New Mexico, the court had the opportunity to explain Dram Shop laws and how they apply in personal injury cases. In the case of Madrid v. Brinker Restaurant Corporation, Madrid was the passenger on a motorcycle that Sanchez was driving. At some point, the motorcycle got into an accident with a van, when the van failed to stop at a stop sign. The driver of the van, whose blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and causing great bodily injury with a motor vehicle while driving under the influence was sentenced to six years in prison.

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February 3, 2014

New Mexico Man Charged with Second Fatal Motorcycle Accident

In a tragic accident last week, a New Mexico man crashed his pick-up truck into a motorcycle, killing the driver and injuring the driver's 11-year-old daughter. According to a report by the Huffington Post, a witness had called police about the driver twice earlier that day; once for erratic driving and once for fighting with a neighbor. Shortly after the second call to police, witnesses report the man's truck crossing the center line into oncoming traffic and colliding with a motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene.

harley-davidson-14844-m.jpgIn 2006, the man was charged with another fatal DUI and served 6 years in prison as a result. In that accident, the same driver failed to stop at a stop sign and collided with a motorcycle carrying two passengers. One of the drivers was killed and the other was paralyzed. In a remarkable yet tragic coincidence, the victim in the most recent accident was the brother of the judge who sentenced the driver for the first accident.

Motorcycle Accidents in New Mexico

No matter what kind of motorcycle a rider chooses, the reality is that the bike won't fare well in an accident with a larger vehicle. In fact, each year hundreds of New Mexico residents are injured or killed in motorcycle accidents many of which are due to no fault of the motorcyclist. Motorcycle accidents, like other accidents, can be caused by a number of things, but the most common reason for motorcycle accidents is that the other driver fails to notice the motorcyclist.

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January 23, 2014

New Mexico Man Caught Driving While Intoxicated for the Eleventh Time

Last month, a New Mexico man was arrested for the eleventh time for driving under the influence. According to a report by KRWG, the man was on his way home from work when he realized that he was traveling down a one-way street. Once he realized that he was doing so, he attempted to make a U-turn, but instead rolled his sport utility vehicle.

thirsty-night-846050-m.jpgBy the time police arrived, the driver had crawled out of the car and was drunkenly stumbling about the crime scene. When he was tested for alcohol, the officers discovered that his blood alcohol content was .20, over twice the legal limit in New Mexico. The man was booked and was held on $15,000 cash-only bail. The suspected charges he will face are: Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated, Careless Driving, and Failure To Have Proof of Registration or Insurance.

Drunk Driving Kills in New Mexico

In New Mexico, drunk driving cases are all too common. In 2011, the most recent year surveyed, there were over 2,300 accidents where alcohol was a factor. Of those, 1,000 accidents resulted in some kind of bodily injury and 131 accidents resulted in one or more deaths.

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January 20, 2014

Rare Jury Verdict Reminds Drivers in New Mexico and Nationwide to Drive Sober

1381283586mxllq morguefile username DodgertonSkillhause.jpgA Bakersfield, California man was recently sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for second degree murder in connection with a fatal traffic collision in a construction zone. 32-year-old Jerad Cross was convicted of killing a 45-year-old Clovis man when he rear-ended his stopped vehicle while under the influence of prescription medication and other drugs. According to authorities, the force of the impact forced the deceased man's pick-up truck underneath the trailer of a semi-truck.

The local District Attorney's Office apparently chose to pursue a rare murder charge because Cross was driving on a suspended motor vehicle operator's license at the time of the collision. Previously, Cross was charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, speeding on at least five occasions, and he was allegedly involved in at least three other at-fault crashes. Immediately prior to the deadly accident, Cross purportedly crushed and snorted prescription medication in an effort to increase the effect of the drugs. He also apparently smoked methamphetamine the night before the accident.

At trial, Cross argued he was not guilty of second degree murder because he failed to understand he was endangering others when the wreck occurred. Prosecutors claimed Cross was well aware of the risks because the label on the drugs he took cautions against driving while taking the medication. Following two weeks of testimony, jurors convicted Cross on the murder charge as well as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, possession of drug paraphernalia, and operating a vehicle with a suspended driver's license.

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November 26, 2013

Jury Award Highlights Dram Shop Liability for DUI Crashes in New Mexico and Throughout the Nation

file0002019505419 morguefile username kconnors.jpgIn late November, a Pennsylvania jury issued a $28 million verdict against a driver and the Pittsburgh Elks Lodge No. 11 in connection with a deadly DUI collision. In September 2009, a 26-year-old Munhall man attended an event at the lodge that included unlimited food and alcohol. As part of the bash, self-serve kegs of beer were apparently provided to guests. According to witnesses, no one from the social club monitored the kegs to ensure revelers were not too intoxicated to drive.

After leaving the event, the man reportedly struck a car that was carrying four people head-on as he sped down a nearby roadway. Sadly, the collision killed one and wounded three others. The deceased woman's boyfriend was apparently severely injured in the tragic wreck and died a few months later as a result of a pain medication overdose. According to local police, the man's blood alcohol level following the crash measured 0.226. He later pleaded guilty to drunken driving and is currently serving a two- to four-year prison sentence.

At trial, the estate of the decedents argued that the driver and the Elks Lodge both committed negligent acts that led to the fatal wreck. After listening to testimony from 43 witnesses over the course of about two weeks, the jury issued its $28 million verdict. One victim's estate received $7 million while the other's family was awarded $8.3 million. Jurors awarded the accident survivors a combined sum of approximately $1.4 million. According to jurors, the drunk driver was 60 percent responsible for the fatal DUI accident while the Elks Lodge was 40 percent at-fault. Interestingly, the jury ordered the social club to pay $10 million in punitive damages to be split between the plaintiffs.

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October 20, 2013

Arroyo Seco Woman Charged With DWI Following Fatal Wreck on I-25 in Bernalillo County

file000879502292 morguefile username lorettaflame.jpgA 60-year-old Arroyo Seco woman was recently charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in connection with a Bernalillo County crash that killed a man. According to local Sheriff's Deputies, the woman was headed north on Interstate 25 near Rio Bravo Boulevard around 7 pm when she rear-ended another vehicle that was being driven by a 67-year-old Peralta man. The initial impact apparently forced the man's car off of the roadway where it rolled before coming to a stop.

Following the crash, the 67-year-old man was pronounced dead at the accident scene. Bernalillo County Sheriff's Deputies reportedly subjected the 60-year-old woman to a field sobriety test after one of the police officers smelled alcohol on her. The woman allegedly registered a blood alcohol content in excess of New Mexico's legal limit of .08. As a result, the 60-year-old was arrested and charged with DWI that resulted in a person's death. She is currently being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center on a $75,000 bond.

Tragic and avoidable alcohol-related traffic wrecks like this one are common across the State of New Mexico. It is a sad fact that anyone who travels on the interstates and other roadways located in our state is placed at risk whenever a motorist chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Although an allegedly drunk driver may be criminally prosecuted, he or she should also be held financially responsible for the damage that results from a DWI collision. The victim of a crash that was caused by an impaired motorist may be entitled to recover damages for their pain and suffering, lost wages and benefits, medical bills, and any temporary or permanent disability that resulted from the traffic wreck. Close family members of an individual who was killed by an allegedly inebriated driver may be eligible to receive additional damages as well as the costs associated with their loved one's funeral. If you were injured or a loved one was killed by an allegedly drunk motorist, you are advised to speak with a skilled lawyer regarding your right to recovery.

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October 3, 2013

Allegedly Drunk Driver Causes Three Separate Accidents in Albuquerque

file0001574648678 morguefile username skeletoyz.jpgAn allegedly intoxicated hit-and-run driver recently caused numerous crashes near Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque. According to Albuquerque Police Department Officer Simon Drobik, the apparently drunk driver struck two separate vehicles and drove in the wrong direction on a one way street before he hit a tree while he was reportedly fleeing from college security officers. Following the third and final crash, the man reportedly measured a 0.18 blood alcohol content. He was transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital for medical treatment. Drobik said the man will face charges for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a traffic wreck once he is released.

Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt in either of the vehicles the allegedly drunk driver collided with. Sadly, that is not always the case. Every year, automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury claims filed in New Mexico. Motor vehicle crashes may be caused by any number of factors including a drunk or otherwise impaired driver. Alcohol-related crashes like this one are common across the State of New Mexico. Everyone who travels on the many interstates, highways, and other roadways located throughout our state is placed at risk whenever a drunk driver makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Although many car crashes will be minor, they can also result in tragic fatalities.

As occurred here, criminal charges are often filed when a driver is accused of operating a vehicle while impaired. Regardless, a crash victim who was hurt by an allegedly intoxicated motorist may file a lawsuit to collect any damages such as medical expenses and lost wages that resulted from the collision. Oftentimes, liability insurance limits are insufficient to cover all of an injured victim's damages. In the State of New Mexico, a case may also be filed against a restaurant or bar at which an inebriated motorist who caused an accident was served alcoholic drinks. Dram shop lawsuits, however, can be extremely complex. A quality New Mexico drunk driving lawyer can explain so-called dram shop cases in more detail.

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May 29, 2013

Man Arrested for DWI Following Albuquerque Injury Accident

500156_vodka_2 sxchu username ftibor.jpgAn Albuquerque man was recently arrested after he allegedly caused an automobile accident while intoxicated and having sex in a Ford Explorer. According to police, a 25-year-old man was charged with reckless driving, aggravated driving while intoxicated (DWI), and evading police after he reportedly crashed the Explorer while headed north on Pennsylvania NE. The man allegedly ran a red light and struck a westbound vehicle at Menaul NE before he fled the scene of the collision.

Police stated the 25-year-old driver was found hiding in a cactus wearing only a single shoe and a pair of boxer shorts. Meanwhile, his female passenger was purportedly found naked at the crash scene after she was ejected from the Explorer. Following the traffic wreck, emergency responders apparently transported the woman to a local area hospital in stable condition. It is currently unclear whether the driver of the other vehicle sustained an injury in the traffic wreck.

A report from the Albuquerque Police Department stated witnesses observed the driver having sex with the woman while speeding above the posted limit. Witnesses also allegedly told law enforcement officers the man was clearly intoxicated when he fled the scene on foot. In addition, an open bottle of vodka was purportedly found in the Explorer after the collision occurred.

Unfortunately, alleged DWI wrecks like this one occur frequently across New Mexico. It is a sad fact that everyone who travels on the many roadways located in our state is placed at risk whenever a drunk or otherwise impaired motorist makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The victim of a traffic collision that was caused by an inebriated driver may be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, medical costs, and any temporary or permanent disability that resulted from the accident. Certain relatives of someone who was killed in a collision with a drunk driver may also be eligible to recover damages for their loved one's funeral expenses. If you were injured or a loved one was killed by an allegedly drunk motorist, you are advised to contact a skilled attorney to discuss your right to recovery.

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May 22, 2013

Semi Driver Arrested for DWI Following McKinley County Propane Truck Crash

698754_wine_bottle sxchu username gmarcelo.jpgIn late April, a single-vehicle accident involving a propane truck reportedly closed State Road 122, Interstate 40, and a set of Burlington Northern Santa Fe train tracks in McKinley County. According to New Mexico State Police, the 55-year-old driver of the propane truck was speeding on State Road 122 around 11 am when he lost control of the semi and overturned near mile marker 22. Following the semi accident, the area was purportedly evaluated by a hazmat team because the full propane tank apparently began to leak. In addition, law enforcement officers allegedly found empty liquor containers in the crash wreckage. As a result, the driver of the truck was reportedly arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, careless driving, and violating the state's open container law.

Alcohol-related accidents like this one are all too common throughout New Mexico. Although no one was injured in this situation, everyone who travels on the many highways and other roads located in our state is placed at risk whenever an impaired driver makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Semi wrecks that were caused by a drunken driver are particularly dangerous due to the sheer size and weight of such vehicles. The victim of a traffic collision that involved a big rig may be eligible to recover damages for pain and suffering, lost wages and benefits, medical costs, and any temporary or permanent disability that resulted from the crash. Certain family members of someone who died in a collision with a big rig may also be entitled to receive compensation for their loved one's funeral expenses. If you were hurt or a relative was killed by an allegedly drunk semi driver, you should contact a quality attorney to discuss your right to recovery.

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March 13, 2013

Man Convicted of DWI Files Dram Shop Lawsuit Against Two Santa Fe Restaurants

1156122_another_beer sxchu username ubik2010.jpgA man who was convicted of drunken driving in connection with a traffic crash that killed two teens has filed a lawsuit against his friend and two restaurants that allegedly served him alcohol. In March 2010, James Ruiz reportedly drove a truck at a high rate of speed into the back of a passenger vehicle on Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe. The force of the impact purportedly killed two sisters and injured both of their parents. According to Santa Fe police, Ruiz had a blood alcohol content of .22, nearly three times New Mexico's legal limit of .08, at the time of the fatal traffic collision. Ruiz, who was out on bond following his fifth driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrest when the deadly accident occurred, is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence.

In the lawsuit, Ruiz claims his friend, Gilbert Mendoza, was negligent when he provided Ruiz with the keys to the vehicle he was driving when the fatal crash took place. He also alleges that Applebee's and the Blue Corn Café violated state and common law when the restaurants served him alcohol despite the fact that he was clearly intoxicated. Ruiz reportedly seeks monetary damages for "severe emotional distress" from Mendoza and both restaurants. A spokesperson for the restaurant group that owns the Blue Corn Café expressed sympathy for the crash victims and stated the company's liquor policy was changed following the deadly accident. The parents of the two teens killed in the DWI collision have reportedly filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ruiz, Mendoza, Applebee's, and the Blue Corn Café.

Sadly, alcohol-related accidents are all too common in Santa Fe and throughout New Mexico. Everyone traveling on the roads is put at risk whenever an impaired driver makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In many cases, criminal charges are filed when a motorist is accused of drunk driving. Still, an injured victim may sue an allegedly intoxicated driver for compensation related to any damages that resulted from the accident. In New Mexico, a claim may also be filed against a bar or restaurant at which an inebriated motorist was served. Contact a quality New Mexico drunk driving lawyer to learn more about so-called dram shop cases.

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February 13, 2013

Man Accused of Vehicular-Homicide in Connection with Rio Arriba County DWI Crash

743246_pills%20sxchu%20username%20ice26.jpgA Santa Fe judge has ruled that blood alcohol tests performed on a driver following a deadly traffic wreck may be admitted as evidence in a criminal case against him. 40-year-old David Gurule is accused of vehicular-homicide in connection with the deaths of two passengers riding in his sport utility vehicle in May 2010. The man was allegedly under the influence of prescription painkillers when he drove the SUV into a tree on New Mexico 369 south of the town of Española.

According to prosecutors, Gurule was speeding when he lost control of his vehicle on a curve in the highway at night. He allegedly drove over a fence and gas meter prior to striking the tree. Tragically, a 42-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child were killed in the crash. Gurule and the child’s mother were purportedly taken by medical helicopter to the University Hospital in Albuquerque. Although alcohol did not play a role in the incident, the injured woman reportedly claims Gurule was high on drugs when the accident occurred.

Former Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office DWI Investigator Jose Martinez stated Gurule provided oral consent for a blood draw at the hospital. Gurule currently stands accused of two counts of vehicular-homicide, one count of bodily injury by vehicle, and driving on a suspended or revoked license in connection with the fatal crash. A trial date has not yet been set.

Sadly, drug and alcohol-related collisions are common in the State of New Mexico. Everyone traveling on the roadways throughout our state is placed at risk of serious injury or death when a drunk or drugged motorist makes the choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. As occurred in this case, criminal charges may be filed when a motorist is accused of driving while impaired. In addition, a high or drunk driver may be held financially responsible for any damages he or she caused. The victim of a drunk or drugged driving crash may file a lawsuit to recover compensation for any pain and suffering, medical expenses, or other damages that resulted from the collision. If you were injured in a DWI accident, a capable personal injury lawyer can explain your right to recovery in greater detail.

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