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Man accused of driving car into National Hispanic Cultural Center, injuring girlfriend, now faces battery charge

Aug. 1—Police have arrested and charged a man they say was driving a vehicle at high speeds before crashing into the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Friday.

Victor Barreto, 24, of Venezuela, was charged on Monday with aggravated battery against a household member, criminal damage to property and reckless driving. It is unclear whether Barreto is represented by an attorney.

The crash critically injured Barreto and minimally injured a woman who was a passenger in the car, said Albuquerque Police Department spokesman Gilbert Gallegos. The crash also damaged the front entrance of the cultural center, causing the entire campus to close over the weekend.

According to an APD news release:

The female passenger told police that she and Barreto had been using cocaine and marijuana the night prior to crash. It is unclear if they were still under the influence when the crash occurred.

The woman told police that she and Barreto were driving and looking for more marijuana when they began to argue. The woman and Barreto had been dating for several months, she said, and during the argument she told Barreto that she is married to another man.

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The woman said Barreto then drove into the parking lot of the NHCC, and told her that he “didn’t want to be here anymore” before accelerating and ultimately crashing into the front entrance of the building.

Police arrested Barreto after he was released from the hospital on Sunday.

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