Two Passengers from Roswell Killed in US 70 New Mexico Truck Crash: NM Attorney Explains

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Rear End Truck Accident Kills Two from Roswell on US 70 near Elida, New Mexico: New Mexico Trucking Accident Attorney Explains the Rights and Liabilities

According to multiple news outlets, a horrible motor vehicle crash occurred on March 25, 2017 at about 2:15 PM on US 70 just south of Elida, New Mexico.  Alexander Horton and Leonard Padilla, both from Roswell, New Mexico were killed when the semi truck driven by Jack Pulliam of Amarillo, Texas rear ended the vehicle they were passengers in.

Alexander Horton and Leonard Padilla were passengers in the vehicle driven by Stephanie Yamteh who also is from Roswell.  She sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to University Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas.  Jack Pulliam, the young truck driver, was taken to Roosevelt General Hospital in Portales, and treated for minor injuries.

US 70 is a major highway cutting across southern New Mexico.  It crosses with some of the largest trucking highways and interstates in the county, including I-25 in Las Cruces, New Mexico and I-10 in Lordsburg, New Mexico.  Major trucking companies such as Estes, FedEx, US Parcel, Schneider International, and other companies frequently use these highways to ship cargo throughout the United States.

Our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. have seen many fatal trucking accidents in this corridor.  If you or a loved one have been serious injured or killed in this area, call us today for a FREE consultation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Wrongful Death Actions in New Mexico

There is nothing that can be said or done to bring back a life lost due to the negligence of a truck driver.  No amount of compensation and no amount of punishment for the negligent truck driver or trucking company.  Human life is just not replaceable.

New Mexico law attempts to help compensate a family such as the Hortons and the Padillas by allowing a family to commence a wrongful death lawsuit.  NM Stat. 41-2-1 defines a wrongful death as a death that was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another.  A rear end truck accident easily fits that classification.

The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is for two main reasons.  The first is to compensate the victim’s family for the loss of their loved one’s love and affection, services, consortium, and financial support.  A victim’s family can also seek compensation for their loved one’s pain and suffering which ultimately caused his or her death.  The second purpose is to punish the negligent party to help serve as a deterrent to stop causing accidents and injuries such as these.

Rear End Trucking Accidents on the Interstate are Almost Always Negligent

When one driver rear ends another vehicle, it is almost always negligent unless there is a non-negligent excuse.  There almost never is a non-negligent excuse in a rear end crash on the interstate.  This is because following too closely is a violation of the vehicle and traffic law.  Under NM Stat 66-7-318, “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”  When a truck rear ends another vehicle on an interstate, such truck is likely violating this statute and negligent as a matter of law.

This is very serious.  Large commercial vehicles such as big rigs, semi truck, tandem trailers, and other large trucks which rear end a smaller passenger vehicle almost always kill if not seriously injury passengers in the other vehicle.  Which is what occurred here on US 70 to Alexander Horton, Leonard Padilla, and Stephanie Yamteh.

From the limited facts of this case, and based on the Caruso Law Offices, P.C.’s experience handling similar cases, there could be many causes of this accident including the following:

  • Excessive speed or speeding of the truck driver;
  • Fatigued driving by the truck driver, such as violating the hours of service regulations;
  • Drunk driving of the truck driver;
  • Drugged driving by the truck driver, particularly drugs to help stay awake or stimulants;
  • Truck driver inexperience, particularly given that the truck driver was only 22 years old;
  • Inadequate training for the truck driver by the truck company;
  • Dust storms or weather requiring the truck driver to slow down;
  • Distracted driving such as on a cell phone of playing with the radio;
  • Mechanical failure of the truck such as brakes or steering wheel failure; and
  • Many other causes.

Roswell Trucking Accident Victims Should Call the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for Legal Representation

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call the experienced New Mexico truck accident attorneys at the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today by dialing (505) 883-5000 You can also contact us on our website through the easy to use and convenient Contact box located by clicking here.