New Mexico State Police are reporting five deaths in a horrific Fatal Jal pickup crash involving a tractor trailer in southeast, NM. The crash occurred on Thursday morning, July 11, 2019 when the pickup truck crossed the centerline and struck an oncoming semi tractor trailer. All four occupants in the pickup truck were killed and the driver of the semi tractor trailer also died. Both vehicles caught in fire after the crash.
According to news reports, the driver of the pickup truck was carrying three other oil workers. The pickup truck crossed the center line on State Road 128 and truck an eastbound tractor trailer rig. The collision was significant and scattered debris at the point of impact. Both vehicles caught fire. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash, but there is no other known reason for the crash at this time.
The four passengers of the pickup truck were all oilfield workers from Texas. This area has become the busiest oil and gas region in the United States given the oil boom. This has resulted in local government employees pushing for better infrastructure given the increased traffic, including the larger vehicles on the roads.
In a separate and updated report, Police have released the names of the victims. The victims are Arturo Barboza of Odessa, TX, Alonso Hernandez of Odessa, TX, Enrique Leon, of Odessa, TX, Justin Brown, of Montgomery, TX, and Rayshawda Riley, of Arlington, TX.
There are many legal issues in a case like this. The most important and obviously noted issues from our New Mexico trucking accident lawyer include the following:
1) Venue of Action – Even though all victims were from Texas, the situs (location) of the accident occurred in New Mexico and New Mexico law will likely apply. This means that liability will be determined in New Mexico courts, therefore making it imperative for a victim’s family to contact a New Mexico trucking accident lawyer to protect their rights.
2) Probably Liability of the Pickup Truck Driver – A vehicle that crosses the centerline is likely violating New Mexico vehicle and traffic law. This is because all vehicles must stay on the right side of the roadway. There may have been a reason for the pickup truck driver to swerve over the centerline, but it is not clear at this time why. Nonetheless, there is a strong probability that the truck driver will be liable for the Fatal Jal pickup crash.
3) Passengers Have Different Rights Than the Truck Driver – Passengers of a vehicle almost always have no comparative fault in a motor vehicle accident. This means that passengers rarely cause or contribute to a crash. However, a driver may have some contribution. Although it does not appear that the truck driver did anything wrong, an investigation is needed to determine whether the truck driver had a reasonable opportunity to avoid or mitigate the crash. The truck driver may have caused or contributed to this crash, or be comparativel at fault, for failing to act reasonable under the circumstances. At this time there is no indicate of this, but instances of the pickup truck swerving or smoking, or the pickup truck indicating somehow they were in peril, would cause a reasonable motorist to slow down or stop. This could be established in the tractor trailer’s online computer which functions like a black box, known as the ECM. But even if there is no evidence of liability of the truck driver, the passengers of the pickup truck and the driver of the tractor trailer cannot generally be represented by the same counselor because the passengers should have a claim of negligence against the truck driver.
4) Victims Need to Call an Experienced New Mexico Trucking Accident Lawyer – There are no witnesses to this crash and the police are still trying to piece together what happened. In cases like this, an experienced New Mexico trucking accident lawyer is needed to gather evidence and begin an investigation. Here at the Mark Caruso, we have experts available and ready to go out to an accident scene to begin taking photographs and collecting evidence to determine liability. We can work with the ECM to gather information of what the truck driver was doing or should have been doing.
Call to schedule your FREE appointment with our lawyers at the Mark Caruso by dialing (505) 883-5000. We handle causes throughout New Mexico, including Las Cruces, Santa Fe, Roswell, Cuervo, Rio Rancho, Clovis, Farmington, Hobbs, Albuquerque where our office is located, and anywhere else throughout New Mexico. Please call to schedule for FREE appointment by dialing (505) 883-5000 or contact us through our website’s easy to use and convenient contact box available here.