Recently in Auto Accidents Category

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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February 26, 2014

Head On Collision Kills Two on Old Las Vegas Highway

Earlier this month, in a tragic accident out of Sate Fe County, two people lost their lives in a head on collision. According to a report by the Santa Fe New Mexican, the collision occurred around 11 a.m. on Old Las Vegas Highway, near the intersection with Old Pecos Trail.

danger-795594-m.jpgApparently, the driver of a GMC Yukon was heading west on Old Las Vegas Highway when the driver of the Yukon lost control of the vehicle when she over-corrected. The Yukon ended up leaving the lane in which it was traveling, crossing the center median, and entering the eastbound lane of traffic. As the Yukon entered the eastbound lane, it collided head on with a Ford Taurus.

The driver of the Ford Taurus was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Yukon was taken to the hospital where he later died as well. Police are not sure what caused the accident and are awaiting the results from the autopsies. However, police do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved. Both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

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February 10, 2014

New Mexico Mom Injured After Jumping in Front of Drunk Driver to Save Her Son

Earlier this week, in a feat that could only be described as heroic and tragic at the same time, a New Mexico mother ended up in the hospital with a broken leg, pelvis, tailbone, several broken ribs, and two broken arms after she jumped in front of a drunk driver who was just about to hit her son and another young person. According to a story by the New York Daily News, the woman explained her decision as her "momma bear instincts" kicking in.

Thumbnail image for burnout-409860-m.jpgApparently, her son had been involved in a minor car accident and she came to his assistance. While they were on the side of the road, a driver swerved up onto the sidewalk, heading for the group of disabled motorists. The woman jumped in front of the vehicle and took the impact.

After the driver came to a stop and saw what he had done, he got back into his car and drove away. The woman's son, however, was able to get the man's license plate number and police had no problem finding him shortly thereafter. He has since been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Causing Great Bodily Harm By Vehicle.

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February 4, 2014

Distracted Driving Accident Claims the Lives of Two New Mexico Men

Last week, a tragic head on collision left two dead and one injured just outside Carlsbad, New Mexico. According to a report by the Carlsbad Current-Argus, the accident occurred on Eddy County Road 605 shortly after 6 a.m. Apparently, a Toyota Tundra was heading southbound on the highway and a Ford Focus was heading northbound. The accident occurred in the northbound lane, when the driver of the Tundra veered over the center line.

mobile-phone-in-hand-1307593-m.jpgBoth the driver and the passenger in the Ford Focus were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the Tundra was also taken to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.

According to the driver of the Tundra, he was getting over to pass a water truck when the accident occurred. However, police could not find a water truck at the scene and the driver's story could not otherwise be verified. Police determined that inattentive driving was a contributing factor to the accident and cited the driver for careless driving and for driving without a seatbelt. Police also determined that alcohol was not a factor in the fatal accident.

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January 23, 2014

New Mexico Man Dies in Iowa Accident Involving Slippery Roads

Earlier this week in Iowa, two men were killed in a rollover accident on Highway 30. According to a report by Omaha.com, one of the men was from Corrales, New Mexico and the other from Plant City, Florida. Apparently, shortly after 7 a.m. the driver of the vehicle lost control of the vehicle and it ended up in a ditch. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the accident is still under investigation; however, police believe that icy winter roads played a part.

icy-conditions-1-929304-m.jpgEven in New Mexico, Slippery Roads Can Be a Hazard

Snow-covered, icy roads are not what most people think of when they think about New Mexico. However, the truth is that parts of our beautiful state do see some significant winter weather for several months out of the year. During these times, it is critical that drivers reassess their driving strategies to account for the condition of the roads and their decreased ability to control their vehicles and come to a complete stop.

When roads are wet, slippery, icy, or snow-covered, the responsible driver will slow down to account for differences in the car's handling. This may mean to drive at a speed that is less than the posted speed limit. In fact, in New Mexico a driver can be cited for traveling the speed limit, if the conditions do not warrant such a speed.

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January 7, 2014

New Mexico Appeals Court Holds Uninsured Motorist Lawsuit Barred by Claim Preclusion

file841272198500 morguefile username Jusben.jpgThe Court of Appeals of New Mexico has held that a family's lawsuit seeking uninsured motorist benefits was barred by claim preclusion. In Pielhau v. State Farm Mutual Auto. Ins. Co., Jared Pielhau was unfortunately killed in a single-vehicle traffic wreck in 2004. At the time of the deadly crash, the vehicle Jared was riding as a passenger in was uninsured and Jared's parents owned five vehicles that were insured by State Farm through four separate policies. Following the accident, the Pielhaus sought to collect financial compensation as part of the uninsured motorist coverage on two of their vehicles. After State Farm refused to allow the Pielhaus family to stack coverage, the couple filed a lawsuit against their insurer and their insurance agent. That case was later settled and dismissed with prejudice.

In 2011, the Pielhaus sought to recover uninsured motorist coverage from the individual insurance policies that were in effect on each of the family's remaining three vehicles in 2004. Prior to Jared's fatal accident, however, the Pielhaus rejected uninsured motorist coverage on each of the three policies. After State Farm failed to respond to the Pielhaus' request for uninsured motorist compensation, the couple filed a lawsuit for damages in district court. According to the Pielhaus, their rejection of uninsured motorist coverage was invalid pursuant to subsequent New Mexico caselaw.

After filing the second case, the family asked the court to grant a motion for partial summary judgment against State Farm. The trial court granted the motion and the Pielhaus voluntarily dismissed their remaining claims. State Farm then appealed the case to the Court of Appeals of New Mexico.

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November 17, 2013

Two College Students Killed in Quay County Single-Vehicle Crash Were Not Wearing Seat-Belts

file000611325098 morguefile username Alvimann.jpgTwo Eastern New Mexico University college students were unfortunately killed in a recent Quay County one-vehicle rollover accident. According to a representative for the New Mexico State Police, Sergeant Emmanuel Guttierez, a 19-year-old Clovis woman was driving a 2003 Chevrolet sport utility vehicle south on N.M. 469 when she unexpectedly lost control of the vehicle and left the roadway. The SUV apparently rolled at least twice before coming to a stop. Regrettably, a 19-year-old Clayton woman and a 20-year-old Texas woman were ejected from the vehicle. Both died at the scene of the single-vehicle wreck. Additionally, the driver of the SUV was reportedly taken by ambulance to a local hospital with injuries that were not deemed to be life-threatening.

The exact cause of the fatal accident is currently under investigation by New Mexico State Police. Guttierez stated police do not believe alcohol played a role in the tragic wreck. He added that the two college students who died were not utilizing a safety belt at the time of the crash. The driver, however, was apparently wearing a seat-belt.

Sadly, deadly one-vehicle accidents like this one occur on the many interstates and other roadways across New Mexico every year. For example, about 350 motorists and passengers were killed in a New Mexico car accident in 2011. Nearly 70 percent of those deaths resulted from a single-car wreck.

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November 9, 2013

Honda Recalls Nearly 350,000 Dangerously Designed Minivans in New Mexico and Nationwide

file0002055683032 morguefile username dantada.jpgJapanese motor vehicle manufacturer Honda has issued a voluntary safety recall of nearly 350,000 Odyssey minivans in the United States. According to the automobile maker, a defective sensor in models manufactured in 2007 and 2008 may cause hydraulic pressure to build in the braking system. When that pressure releases, the vehicles may brake without warning to the driver. In addition, the unexpected braking apparently fails to illuminate the car's brake light system. Consequently, not only do drivers of the affected minivans have no control over the braking pressure, but other motorists are apparently unaware that the vehicle may be slowing down.

Honda claims the safety issue has not yet resulted in any driver or passenger injuries. Still, consumers are reportedly concerned that the vehicles many believe were designed to transport families may pose a danger. Although the vehicle manufacturer has plans to install a new sensor in affected minivans, the parts required are not expected to be available for several months. Honda has advised minivan owners to start their vehicle with the wheels facing straight ahead until the new sensors are available to consumers. Additionally, a representative for Honda stated that a tap or pump to the brake pedal should stop any unexpected self-braking. Drivers are also advised to restart the vehicle's engine if an Odyssey minivan begins to stop on its own.

Earlier this year, Honda recalled other vehicle models manufactured by the company for allegedly unrelated brake issues. The current recall was purportedly issued in response to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigation that was launched following at least 22 consumer complaints. According to the NHTSA, the issue is troubling because an affected vehicle's speed may drop quickly by up to 30 miles per hour.

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October 21, 2013

Three Negligent Malaga Wrecks Claim Several Lives in Less Than One Week

file00086483068 morgurfile username imelenchon.jpgAnother fatal Malaga traffic wreck has claimed the life of an Artesia man. According to the Assistant Fire Chief of the Malaga Volunteer Fire Department, Roy Burkham, the man was killed in a tragic three-car accident on U.S. Highway 285. The man was reportedly headed north in a water hauler when a southbound trucker unexpectedly lost control of his vehicle on a curve and struck him near mile marker 18. An accident witness apparently said both vehicles rolled before coming to a stop. A third truck was also purportedly involved in the fatal crash.

The exact cause of the fatal crash is currently under investigation. Burkham stated the decedent was not wearing a seat-belt when the collision occurred. Sadly, the man was pronounced dead at the scene of the collision. Following the wreck, the driver who allegedly lost control of his commercial truck was transported to the Carlsbad Medical Hospital for treatment. Burkham said police believe a combination of weather and excessive speed likely contributed to the fatal collision.

The tragic accident was reportedly the third deadly crash in the area within one week. Earlier this month, two men were reportedly killed in a single-vehicle oilfield truck rollover crash on Illinois Camp Road and a Loving man died in a three-vehicle crash on Highway 31. In addition, at least two additional crashes occurred on Highway 285 in July.

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October 4, 2013

Albuquerque Breaks Ground on Road Project Designed to Reduce the Rate of Dangerous Traffic Accidents

file0001321507731 morguefile username xandert.jpgThe City of Albuquerque has broken ground on a $93 million road project that will construct a new interchange at Interstate 25 and Paseo del Norte in the hopes of reducing the number of serious traffic accidents. Although much of the road construction will not begin for a few weeks, preliminary work such as land surveys and utility work is currently under way. The interchange project will eliminate traffic signals, add ramps, and provide a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path over the interstate. The road project safety is currently scheduled for completion in late 2014.

The new interchange is expected to lower the number of traffic accidents at the intersection and reduce driver fuel costs by as much as $2.5 billion each year. Because Interstate 25 is a major east-west route through Albuquerque, more than 150,000 vehicles reportedly travel through the intersection on a daily basis. Traffic jams are apparently common where the roadway intersects with the north-south thoroughfare of Paseo del Norte. Additionally, nearly 500 accidents occur at the interchange each year.

According to Governor Susana Martinez, voters overwhelmingly approved financing to rebuild the dangerous interchange. The City of Albuquerque will reportedly fund about half of the project using voter-approved tax revenue bonds while the State of New Mexico will pay approximately $30 million of the costs. In addition, Bernalillo County will be responsible for a $5 million general obligation bond that was approved by voters last year. Remaining construction funds will apparently come from federal sources.

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September 18, 2013

Suzuki Issues Safety Recall for Almost 200K Vehicles in New Mexico and Across U.S. Over Passenger Airbag Problems

file000603435999 morguefile username dantada.jpgAutomobile manufacturer Suzuki has issued a safety recall for nearly 200,000 vehicles manufactured between 2006 and 2011. According to documents filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the company received at least 66 reports related to apparently faulty front passenger airbags in Grand Vitara sport utility vehicles and SX4 hatchbacks and sedans between 2007 and 2012. The recall was issued because the weight sensors installed in affected vehicle seat cushions may become disconnected and allow an airbag to deploy when it should be deactivated. As a result, the airbag can deploy in the event of a collision and children or small passengers traveling in the front seat may be placed at risk of severe injury or death.

Last year, Suzuki agreed to extend the airbag sensor warranty in the same vehicles, but did not issue a recall. In June, the NHTSA began an investigation into the matter after the agency reportedly received more than 125 complaints regarding malfunctioning passenger seat airbag warning lights and sensors. As part of the recall, Suzuki dealers will reportedly replace the entire seat in the vehicles. Still, parts are reportedly difficult to obtain since the United States division of Suzuki Motors filed bankruptcy in November 2012. At this time, it is unclear when the recall repairs will begin or be completed.

Unfortunately, some personal injuries are caused by a defective product such as an automobile part. This situation is especially troubling due to the rapid speed and force with which airbags normally deploy. Regrettably, such a defect may result in disabling harm or death for a child or other small passenger.

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September 10, 2013

Five People Killed in Three Holiday Weekend New Mexico Rollover Accidents Were Not Buckled Up

file0001469119101 morguefile username Alvimann.jpgFive people were tragically killed in three separate New Mexico rollover car accidents that occurred over the recent Labor Day weekend. According to New Mexico State Police spokesperson Emmanuel T. Gutierrez, all of the victims died because they failed to buckle up.

In one of the crashes, a 42-year-old man, his pregnant daughter, and three-year-old grandson died. Authorities believe the man fell asleep at the wheel while he was driving a pick-up truck carrying eight passenger on U.S. Highway 60 near Socorro. Gutierrez said the truck crossed into oncoming traffic before it left the roadway and rolled. He also stated a number of the truck's passengers were riding in the bed of the pick-up. Survivors were apparently transported by both ambulance and medical helicopter to Albuquerque-area hospitals.

Sadly, two other individuals were also killed in other holiday weekend rollover wrecks. An 18-year-old driver died when the pick-up she was driving struck the median and rolled on Interstate 25 near Las Cruces. The driver was apparently ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene of the crash. Gutierrez said there was no indication the 18-year-old was wearing a safety belt when the fatal accident happened.

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August 22, 2013

Three Teens Killed in Cuba Rollover Crash Were Not Wearing a Seat Belt

file000273900833 morguefile username matthew_hull.jpgIn July, three people were killed and two others were hurt in a single-vehicle rollover accident on U.S. Highway 550 near Cuba, New Mexico. According to New Mexico State Police, an 18-year-old driver was headed south in a Toyota Sequoia when he drifted to the right. He reportedly over-corrected, left the roadway, and rolled the vehicle more than once. Sadly, an 18-year-old University of Utah football player, a 19-year-old Texas A&M football player, and a 13-year-old boy were killed in the car wreck. Following the crash, the driver and another passenger were taken to the San Juan Medical Center in Farmington for medical treatment.

It is currently unclear what caused the 18-year-old motorist to lose control of the automobile. Authorities stated two of the individuals killed were ejected from the Toyota as a result of the rollover accident. Police added that it appears the driver was the only person traveling in the car who was wearing a safety belt when the collision occurred.

Unfortunately, many tragic single-car crashes like this one occur on the interstates and other roadways throughout the State of New Mexico every year. In 2011, 353 people were killed in a traffic accident in our state. Of those killed, 240 deaths resulted from a single-vehicle crash. Dangerous road or weather conditions, motor vehicle defects, and swerving to avoid a negligent driver frequently cause one-car accidents.

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July 24, 2013

61-Year-Old Killed in Doña Ana County Head-On Crash After Another Motorist Crosses Center Line

1408010_just_printed sxchu username MamPrint.jpgA 61-year-old Gadsden Independent School District Librarian was tragically killed in a recent head-on automobile collision in the Anthony Gap near Chaparral. According to New Mexico State Police, the woman was driving a four-door Toyota near mile marker six on New Mexico 404 around 11:30 am when a Chevrolet sedan driven by a 45-year-old Chaparral man allegedly crossed the center line and struck her vehicle. Following the accident, rescue crews transported the 45-year-old man and two children who were riding in his car, a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas for medical treatment. Sadly, the Chaparral High School Head Librarian was pronounced dead at the scene of the tragic collision.

The exact cause of the deadly traffic wreck is now under investigation by the Doña Ana County District Attorney's Office. According to State Police, the driver of the Chevrolet claims he blacked out immediately prior to the crash. Law enforcement officials apparently do not believe drugs or alcohol played a factor in the fatal accident. It is currently unclear whether the driver who allegedly caused the wreck will face charges.

Both drivers and passengers are catastrophically injured or killed in avoidable New Mexico traffic collisions each year. Car accidents may be caused by a wide array of factors including an intoxicated, impaired, inattentive, or reckless motorist. Crashes can also result from hazardous road conditions, medical emergencies, weather, and automobile defects. In New Mexico, the victim of a negligent motorist may be able to recover damages for their medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, pain and suffering, and any disability that resulted from a traffic wreck. Additionally, the spouse, child, parent, or other close relative of someone who died in a New Mexico motor vehicle collision may be eligible to recover the costs associated with a loved one's funeral and wrongful death.

New Mexico is a comparative fault accident state. This means an individual who suffered harm in a traffic wreck may receive damages for his or her crash injuries even if he or she was partially responsible for the accident. If you were hurt or lost a loved one in an automobile accident in New Mexico, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your options for recovery in more detail.

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July 22, 2013

AAA Study Claims Drivers in New Mexico and Elsewhere are Distracted by In-Dash Technology

1035921_gps_driving_2 sxchu username krilm.jpgA study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety claims technology installed in a vehicle's dash that allows motorists to text or email using voice commands is more distracting than using a mobile telephone. In recent years, car manufacturers have reportedly made attempts to increase sales to younger audiences using in-dash entertainment systems. Prior to the AAA study, many apparently believed such hands-free technology increases motorist safety. Still, car accidents in New Mexico and nationwide are common.

According to the recent study, drivers who talk on a handheld telephone are not significantly more distracted than those who use a hands-free device. In addition, the study found that motorists who use talk-to-text technology are more distracted from the roadway than those who merely speak with another person. Lead study author and University of Utah Psychology Professor David Strayer said speaking to a computer requires more precision than speaking to a human. The cognitive distraction expert believes this may be why motorists have a tough time paying attention to the street while using voice-to-text applications.

Currently, an estimated nine million vehicles have in-dash entertainment systems installed. Over the next five years, that number is expected to rise as high as 62 million. AAA spokesperson Yolanda Cade stated the organization is concerned that a public safety crisis is now looming over the United States. In response to the AAA study results, the National Safety Council urged motor vehicle manufacturers and lawmakers to reconsider whether in-dash communication systems should be placed in new cars and trucks. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers apparently cautioned that a number of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studies found handheld mobile phones were more dangerous than hands-free devices.

All New Mexico drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians are placed at risk of being hurt or killed by a distracted driver. An individual who was injured in a New Mexico traffic collision may be eligible to receive damages for their physical harm, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, and other damages that directly resulted from the accident. Certain relatives of someone who died as a result of the actions of a distracted motorist may also be able to recover compensation for the cost of their loved one's funeral. If you were hurt by a distracted motorist, you are advised to contact a skilled New Mexico personal injury lawyer to discuss your rights as soon as you are able.

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