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N.M. Lottery official resigns after leaving DWI accident scene

Jul 10, 2006, 7:38 am

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New Mexico Lottery

The vice chairman of the New Mexico Lottery Authority board of directors has turned in a letter of resignation to Gov. Bill Richardson, days after he was arrested in a bizarre drunk-driving crash.

New Mexico Lottery Authority Vice Chairman Cody Kelley is accused of rolling his pickup truck while drunk and then walking away with his injured passenger to a nearby bar.

The incident occurred during the Fourth of July weekend when witnesses said a pickup truck southbound on Pan American NE spun out of control near Paseo del Norte. The truck ran off the road and rolled several times on its way to the bottom of a small hill.

But instead of staying at the accident scene, the couple in the truck got out and started walking toward the Courtyard Marriott Hotel.

Police identified that couple as Cody and Jennifer Dennis and said they were found sitting at a bar inside the hotel. The bartender told police the couple had just arrived.

Dennis told police "they had been dropped off by a Yellow taxi and she had been hurt playing softball," according to a criminal complaint. Kelley "denied being in an accident even though he had glass on his shirt," the document added.

Kelley blew more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 on a breath-alcohol test and was arrested.

Richardson last year appointed Kelley to a second six-year term on the lottery board. The position is unpaid.

Kelley sent a resignation letter to the governor on Thursday.

"The officials should better well know that this is unacceptable behavior and should set an example," Albuquerque Police Department spokesman John Walsh said.

The governor's office released a statement saying that fighting DWI is a top priority for the governor who has a zero tolerance policy for any employee or appointee who is accused of driving drunk.

Kelley is facing charges for aggravated DWI and leaving the scene of an accident. Dennis was charged with a misdemeanor.

Kelley, an Albuquerque lawyer, did not respond to phone messages requesting comment on his side of the story.

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