Two injured in Interstate 40 rollover

William Thompson

A man and a woman were transported to Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital Thursday morning after their vehicle rolled over twice on I-40 just west of the 334 mile marker.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident. Sgt. Rigo Chavarria of New Mexico State Police said driver fatigue may have played a role in the accident. “Markings on the roadway indicate the driver was fatigued,” said Chavarria. “The female driver made a quick evasive movement to the left in the westbound lanes which caused the vehicle to go into a broadside skid.”

Things went from bad to worse as the vehicle, a late-model Volkswagen, slid into the median. “They traveled into the median,” said Chavarria. “Because of the angle and momentum, it caused the vehicle to overturn. It underwent two complete rotations.” The vehicle came to a rest on its wheels in the eastbound lanes facing east. The female driver was the first to be taken to the hospital. Sgt. Chavarria said the woman suffered from head trauma. It took around ten minutes for emergency personnel to remove the injured male passenger from the vehicle. Patrolman Bob Gonzales of the New Mexico Motor Transportation Division was one of the officers who extricated the passenger from the vehicle.
“We had to be very careful with the man because of the injuries,” he said.

Chavarria said he assumed the man and woman will survive the accident. Emergency room personnel at Trigg Memorial Hospital would not comment on the pair’s condition. Chavarria said drivers should pull off to the side of the road as soon as they are aware of becoming tired.
“A fatigued driver should just pull over to the side of the road and lock the doors and get some sleep,” said Chavarria. “As police officers, we would rather see a driver sleeping in the vehicle on the side of the road than to see that driver in an accident. We urge drivers not to push the distance. Drivers shouldn’t say, ‘I think I can make it to the next town.’”