Last week, the Sandoval County Fire Chief was killed in a motor vehicle crash on Interstate 25 near Bernalillo while on his way to work. 59-year-old John Tibbetts was on duty and driving a county-issued sport utility vehicle (SUV) in a northbound lane of the roadway when the accident occurred. According to New Mexico State Police, a Cadillac SUV driven by 22-year-old Armando Saenz struck the median in front of Tibbetts and careened back into traffic. The Cadillac reportedly then hit the SUV Tibbetts was traveling in. Tibbetts’ SUV proceeded to flip over the concrete median and came to a stop in one of the southbound lanes of the Interstate. Despite that he was wearing a seat-belt at the time of the crash, the Fire Chief was pronounced dead at the scene. Saenz was reportedly transported by emergency responders to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment of undisclosed injuries.
A Sandoval County Fire Department ambulance was reportedly the first to respond to the unfortunate accident. Although the cause of the crash is currently under investigation, it is unclear what caused Saenz to strike the median. According to State Police spokesperson Lt. Robert McDonald, alcohol was not a suspected factor in the collision.
Unfortunately, many people are killed in auto accidents on New Mexico roadways every year. Motor vehicle crashes can be caused by many factors such as driver intoxication or inattention, reckless driving, hazardous road conditions, and automobile defects. Individuals who are injured by a reckless, negligent, or careless driver in a New Mexico automobile collision may be eligible to receive compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and any temporary or permanent disability caused by the crash. Those who have lost a family member in a tragic car accident may also be able to recover for loss of support and funeral expenses. Because the amount of time you have to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim is limited, you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible following any accident or a loved one's unexpected death.