Serving the High Plains

Lawsuit: Driver in Five Mile Park crash lacked a license

The father of a Tucumcari teenager who died in an SUV accident at Five Mile Park earlier this year alleges in a wrongful-death lawsuit that an unlicensed juvenile was driving when the crash occurred.

The man’s legal firm filed a second lawsuit, alleging the city violated the Inspection of Public Records Act in failing to provide police, dispatch and other records related to the accident.

Steven Gloms on June 6 filed a complaint in Tucumcari District Court for wrongful death and negligence against the city and eight individuals. (The Quay County Sun is not identifying the plaintiffs because they identify several juveniles.)

Gloms is the father of Jayden Gloms, 15, who died in the accident on Jan. 24.

According to the lawsuit, Gloms was riding in a Jeep with three other teens at the firing range of Five Mile Park about 4:45 p.m.

It alleges the boy behind the wheel did not have a driver’s license when he was doing “donuts” in the Jeep.

“This manner of driving, in combination with the ground surface within the shooting range, caused the Jeep to roll over,” the filing states. “When the Jeep began to roll, Jayden Gloms became stuck under the Jeep, which had flipped and landed on him.”

A phone message left to Tucumcari city attorney Jared Najjar requesting comment was not immediately returned. Mayor Ralph Moya, reached by phone, declined to comment on the advice of the city attorney.

A Tucumcari Police Department report stated Jayden was hanging out of a passenger-side window of the vehicle when the accident occurred.

Paramedics and the Office of Medical Examiner determined Jayden had died at the scene. Hundreds attended Jayden’s funeral at Rattler Gymnasium.

The lawsuit also alleges the city had been aware for years that people had driven to the shooting range for recreational purposes and encouraged the use of trails for all-terrain vehicles at the park.

“The City was also aware prior to January 2023 that the condition of Five Mile Park posed risks or danger to park visitors, and that maintenance efforts were needed to make the area safely accessible for recreational purposes (including driving),” the suit states.

It added the city was aware of previous accidents there and did not complete rehabilitation efforts at the park.

“… Five Mile Park has consequently remained in a dangerous and dilapidated condition until and throughout the automobile rollover that killed Jayden Gloms,” the suit stated.

The lawsuit alleges negligent operation and maintenance of the park, labeling it as “a potentially dangerous and apparent attractive nuisance for off-roading and reckless driving activities.”

It maintains the city failed to arrange surveillance of the park, failed to erect a fence or gate to discourage reckless driving there and failed to close the park or shooting range to vehicles.

The suit alleges negligence by eight defendants, including three juveniles who were with Jayden the night of the accident and two listed as the Jeep’s owners who allegedly permitted the unlicensed driver.

The juvenile probation office reviewed the crash report and was due to meet with the three boys and their parents. District Attorney Tim Rose, citing confidentiality laws regarding juveniles, declined to disclose details of the report

The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, including the costs of Jayden’s funeral.

Gloms’ second lawsuit, filed June 5, alleges six violations by the city of the Inspection of Public Records Act.

It states Gloms’ attorney submitted open-records requests in April to the city regarding police reports on the accident and the operation and maintenance of the Five Mile Park shooting range. It states city officials failed to respond to several requests, missed deadlines to meet the requests or provided incomplete responses or no responses at all.

The lawsuit states it was seeking compensatory and statutory damages of $100 a day on the six counts of alleged noncompliance, plus injunctive relief directing the city to preserve and produce all records from the requests.

The Kennedy, Hernandez and Harrison law firm in Albuquerque filed both lawsuits on Gloms’ behalf.

 
 
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