Crime

Jun 20, 2014 10:21 PM by Andy Koen

Family pleads for suspect to turn himself in

PUEBLO - The family of a Pueblo man on the run after leaving the scene of a deadly accident last week is pleading for him to turn himself in. A warrant was issued for the arrest of 26-year-old Frankie Anthony Perea on felony charges of Vehicular Homicide(Reckless Driving), Failing to Remain at the Scene of an Accident Resulting in Death and Driving with a Retrained/Revoked License.

The police believe Perea was driving a stolen maroon Cadillac that hit a light pole near the intersection of Pueblo Boulevard and Northern Avenue sometime shortly before 2:30 a.m. Friday June, 13. A passenger in the car, 16-year-old Bernadette Trujillo, died in the crash.

In court documents filed for Perea's arrest warrant, a second passenger in the car told officers that Perea was driving. A photo taken by a red light camera taken at the intersection of Northern Avenue and Prairie Avenue also showed Perea behind the wheel.

Perea, who sometimes goes by the nickname "Abba," has a lengthy criminal history with more than a dozen arrests and tickets dating back to 2005. Many of his prior convictions are related to drug charges. In fact, he was serving a four year, non-residential sentence at the halfway house Intervention Community Corrections Services (ICCS) after being busted by Pueblo Police in October of 2012 for selling crack cocaine.

He posted $75,000 bail a month later but was arrested again in March of 2013 for violating the terms of that release when police found him visibly drunk.

Family members tell News 5 that until the night of the crash, Perea had tried to turn his life around.

"I just want (the public) to know he's not a monster," said sister Chasidy Perea. "He has a kind heart."

His grandparents Frank and Jean Chavez said Perea had recently been living with them and held down a job at Wendy's.

"He'd go to all his classes and his (urine analyses) and everything," Jean said. "He wanted to straighten his life out for his kids."

News 5 confirmed through the Pueblo County Correctional Services (the oversight body for halfway houses) that Perea had reported regularly to ICCS during his release and had not failed any drug tests. His last contact with ICCS was at 8:42 p.m. on June 12, six hours before the accident.

Perea's family also said they are heartbroken by the death of Trujillo. Chasidy said the teenager was one of her best friends.

"He loved Bernadette like he was his sister," said Perea's father Frank Chavez. "We all loved Bernadette."

Chavez said Frankie had recently suffered head trauma and was prone to suffering black-outs. He shared that information with the police.

"He might have blacked out behind the wheel," Chavez said. "Nobody knows."

The family expressed sympathies to the Trujillo's or their loss and pleaded with Frankie to turn himself in.

"Please help us," Jean said. "Turn yourself in, please, Grandpa has been crying for you."

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