Serving the High Plains

Tumcumcari volunteer firefighter charged with DWI

A Tucumcari volunteer firefighter involved in a collision while responding to a fire call Sunday has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Edgar Shipley III, 36, failed to stop at a red light traveling north on First Street when his 2007 Jeep Wrangler collided in the intersection with a gray 2012 Dodge Challenger driven by Mario Rivera of Tucumcari, said New Mexico State Police Lt. Lance Bateman.

Bateman said at 7:59 p.m., state police officers were summoned to the intersection of Tucumcari Boulevard and First Street in reference to a motor vehicle crash with injuries.

He said Shipley was responding to a fire call in his personal vehicle, which is equipped with emergency lights.

Bateman said witnesses reported Shipley's vehicle had the emergency lights engaged when the crash occurred.

Shipley could not be reached for comment.

Shipley was responding to a report of a structure fire on the 1300 block of East Rankin Avenue, said Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry. Officials discovered no fire at the scene.

Bateman said while investigating the scene, officers noticed an odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from Shipley. He said Shipley admitted consuming alcohol prior to driving.

Bateman said Shipley was transported to Trigg Memorial Hospital with injuries sustained from the crash. He said a blood draw was conducted on Shipley at Trigg and he was later transported to a hospital in Amarillo.

Bateman said Rivera had to be extricated from his vehicle and was transported to Trigg Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. He said Rivera was released later that night, though he may have returned for more treatment.

The extent of injuries to the men was not clear on Tuesday.

Bateman said Shipley has since been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs and running a red light.

Cherry said any disciplinary action against Shipley as a firefighter will be dependent on the outcome of the state police investigation.