Why Are New Mexico Trucking Accidents on Interstates so Deadly?

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Trucking Accident Attorneys Explain Why Trucking Accidents on Interstates are So Deadly

All trucking accidents are dangerous and can easily be deadly.  Even if they are just bumper taps or at low speeds, commercial trucks and semis can cause serious personal injuries.  Some of the most dangerous types of trucking accidents occur on the interstates and highways around New Mexico.  This is because of the sheer weight and speed of these large commercial vehicles traveling on these roadways.  This generate significant momentum.  When a tractor trailer, semi, or commercial truck collides with any other object, such as a passenger vehicle, this momentum is transferred and disbursed through that object.  This creates catastrophic damage.

Approximately two years ago, this occurred on Interstate 10 when three tractor trailers and commercial trucks rear-ended three passenger vehicles.  This resulted in a pileup accident and caused a fire.  The occupants of the passenger vehicles were all killed in the fire, while the truck drivers walked away without serious injury.

The Caruso Law Offices, P.C. represents the estate of Joseph Guttuso, one of the deceased passenger vehicle occupants, in a trucking accident and wrongful death case.  If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced interstate trucking accident attorneys at the Caurso Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE consultation by calling (505) 883-5000.

Speed Kills on Interstates and Highways: Reasons Why Fast Speed Creates Additional Danger

Interstates and highways are some of the most dangerous types of roads a motorist can travel on.  This is because these roadways have high speed limits.  The faster a vehicle goes, the more momentum and force it will have.  Speed also reduces reaction time but increases stopping time.  This is a deadly combination.

Tractor trailers, semis, and large commercial vehicles are particularly dangerous on interstates and highways for this reason.  The truck driver’s reaction time is reduced just like any other motorist.  However, the truck driver’s stopping time is significantly increased much more than any other vehicle.  This is because tractor trailers, semis, and large commercial trucks weigh more than other vehicles.  This makes stopping a large truck more difficult and it takes more time than other vehicles.

Trucks are Inherently Deadly on Interstates and Highways

Therefore, tractor trailers, semis, and large commercial trucks traveling on interstates and highways all possess the dangerous elements for causing serious motor vehicle accidents.  They are big and heavy, effectively battering rams.  They are moving fast on the interstate and highway, reducing reaction time and increasing stopping time.  And they are more difficult to maneuver and stop to avoid hazards on the roadways, including families in passenger vehicles.  Interstate trucking accidents are dangerous and deadly.

Contact an Experienced New Mexico Interstate Trucking Accident Attorney

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced personal injury 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.

Calculating Damages in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

- Mark Caruso

Victims of New Mexico Trucking Accidents are Entitled to Compensatory Damages

New Mexico trucking accidents can cause serious personal injuries and death.  Approximately two years ago, seven people were killed in a New Mexico trucking accident on Intestate 10 during an oncoming dust storm.  These seven people were traveling in three passenger vehicles on Interstate 10.  Due to the ongoing dust storm, they slowed down as reasonable under the circumstances.  However, three tractor trailer and commercial trucks did not slow down and rear ended the three passenger vehicles causing a pileup accident.  There was an explosion which started a fire, killing all seven occupants of the passenger vehicles.  No truck drivers were killed or injured.

One of the deceased is Joseph Guttuso.  His estate contacted the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. to represent Mr. Guttuso in the trucking accident and wrongful death claim.  The matter is currently in a jury trial in Santa Fe county.  The family is seeking compensation for the wrongful loss of Mr. Guttuso as a result of the negligence of the trucking companies and truck drivers.  If you, a loved one, or someone you know has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. for a FREE case evaluation by dialing (505) 883-5000 to learn about your rights to compensation.

Types of Damages in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

There are several different types of damages which a victim of a New Mexico trucking accident could be entitled to.  Whether an individual is entitled to such damages depends on the facts of the case and whether such damages are related to the accident.  Some examples of damages include the following:

  • Past pain and suffering from injuries during the accident and up to trial;
  • Future pain and suffering from remaining injuries after trial;
  • Emotional pain and suffering;
  • Lost wages due to injuries;
  • Lost earning capacity due to injuries, which prevent a victim from returning to the same job;
  • Medical expenses and bills, including medical liens;
  • Medical supplies and treatment;
  • Property damage, including damage to vehicles;
  • Future surgeries or medical treatment;
  • Loss of consortium and services of a spouse;
  • Wrongful death and
  • Many several other types of damages.

Calculating Damages in New Mexico Trucking Accidents

The calculation of damages is not as formulaic as people hope.  Meaning, there is no exact method to calculate most types of damages—with the exception sometimes for lost wages and lost earning capacity.  This can be frustrating to injured victims because they may not be able to determine what they are entitled to.  However, our experienced New Mexico trucking accident attorneys know how to calculate damage and estimate damages based one our years of experience.

For pain and suffering damages, the amount an individual is entitled to is based on the reasonable compensation that other victims with similar injuries in similar circumstances have received.  This can be through other settlements, jury verdicts, of appellate-level court decisions requiring whether the compensation a victim received was reasonable. Therefore, each injury as a “going rate” which it will typically settle for.  There are, of course, other factors to consider such as the victim’s age, severity of the injuries, and comparative fault in causing the accident—all which can affect the amount of damages.

As for medical expenses, bills, and treatment costs, these types of damages can be calculated by simply adding up the total amount.  But the victim also needs to establish that these expenses are related to the subject accident and reasonable.  Because of this, this calculation may require a little more than just doing basic math.

As for lost wages and earning capacity, typically an economist is needed to calculate the average growth of the victim’s job, salary increases, and projects to a reasonable degree of accounting certainty.  This can be very complicated to do, even for an attorney, and specialized knowledge from a retained expert is usually needed.

Obtaining Damages in a New Mexico Trucking Accident

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced personal injury 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.

New Mexico Rear End Truck Accidents Causing Serious Personal Injuries

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Rear End Truck Accidents Can Cause Serious Personal Injuries or Death, Even at Low Speeds!

Rear end collisions are one of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents.  A lot of rear end collisions occur at low speeds and can be rather innocuous, even though they are annoying and disruptive to every day life.  However, high-speed rear end collisions can cause very serious personal injuries, including debilitating pain, permanent disability, and even death.

Some of the most dangerous types of rear end collisions involve tractor trailer trucks, semis, and other large commercial vehicles.  This is because these vehicles are very large and have significant momentum that gets transferred into the vehicle they collide with.  This is particularly true when the rear end collisions happens at a high speed, such as on an interstate or highway.

Deadly Rear End Collision on Interstate 10 in Trial

This is what happened to the vehicle Joseph Guttuso was traveling in approximately two years ago on Interstate 10.  He was in one of three passenger vehicles which slowed down as they traveled through an ongoing dust storm.  However, three large tractor trailer trucks did not slow down and continued almost blindly through the ongoing dust storm.  These trucks rear ended the passenger vehicles at high speed, resulting in an explosion causing a fatal fire which killed all seven passengers.  No truck drivers were killed.

The Caruso Law Offices, P.C., is representing the estate of Mr. Guttuso in a New Mexico trucking accident and wrongful death case.  This matter is currently at trial in a Santa Fe courthouse.  If you or a someone you know has been injured in a similar accident or in any motor vehicle accident, particularly one causing a wrongful death, call us for a FREE case evaluation by dialing (505) 883-5000.

Rear End Trucking Accidents: Understanding Liability

Generally, the vehicle which rear ends another vehicle is liable for causing the accident and any damages resulting from the accident.  This is under both a theory of common law negligence, which is judge-made law that has evolved over the years, and under a theory of negligence per se, a theory of liability based on a statute.

The applicable statute here is NM Stat Section 66-7-318, which governs following too closely.  This statute provides that “[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.”  Therefore, a vehicle rear ending another vehicle is violating this statute and liable for any injuries resulting therefrom.

Injuries which are caused from a rear end collision with a tractor trailer, semi truck, or other large commercial vehicle can be significant.  Under a theory of both common law negligence and negligence per se, a trucker driver and the truck company can be liable to victims of a rear end collision.

New Mexico Rear End Collisions Caused by New Mexico Trucking Accidents

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the experienced rear end collision 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.

Fatal Fire Caused by New Mexico Trucking Accident During Dust Storm Goes to Trial

- Mark Caruso

New Mexico Trucking Accident That Killed 7 During Dust Storm Goes to Trial

The Caruso Law Offices, P.C. are going to trial to represent the estate of a victim wrongfully killed in a New Mexico trucking accident.  The accident occurred during a dust storm, and resulted in a massive fire consuming the three passenger vehicles rear ended in the collision by three large, tractor trailer vehicles.

If you or a loved on were seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident, contact the Caruso Law Offices, P.C. today for a FREE case evaluation by calling (505) 883-5000.  We have the knowledge and compassion necessary to protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you are entitled to.

Seven Killed in New Mexico Trucking Accident Causing Fatal Fire on Interstate 10

Approximately two years ago, Joseph Guttuso and six others were killed in a fatal fire caused by a pileup truck accident.  Mr. Guttuso and the other six victims were in three different passenger vehicles traveling on Interstate 10.  There was an ongoing dust storm during the stretch of highway they were traveling on.  As a result, the three passenger vehicles exercised caution and slowed down as reasonable under the circumstances.

However, three large commercial trucks and tractor trailers operated by SAIA Trucking, Towne Air Freight, and Lights on Trucking failed to exercise the same caution.  Despite many signs along the road warning of dust storms, and despite the obvious ongoing dust storm, these three trucks continued to travel down the highway at high speeds.  They collided with the three passenger vehicles and caused a pileup accident.  The collision resulted in a fire, and the diesel and gas exploded short after impact splashing fire all over the accident scene.

Outside of common negligence for failing to exercise caution as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances, it is argued the  truck drivers and trucking companies violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) section 392.14.  This section governs hazardous conditions and use of extreme caution, and provides the following:

“Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.”

Since the truck drivers failed to exercise extreme caution during the dust storm which affected visibility, and since they failed to reduce speed so that the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated—since it was not safety operated in this case when it rear ended another vehicle—the Defendant trucking companies and drivers may be liable under the FMCSR as well as under a theory of negligence.

Fire Fatalities Caused by New Mexico Trucking Accidents

If a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a New Mexico trucking accident caused by a fire, contact the experienced wrongful death 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.

Albuquerque Police Reports and APD Collision Reports Help Determine Who Caused Accident

- Mark Caruso

Accident and Collision Reports by Albuquerque Police Department and Bernalillo Sheriff Department for Auto, Truck, Motorcycle, Bicycle and Pedestrian Injuries

By Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney (Albuquerque, NM)



The police report, accident report or crash collision report prepared by the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) or Bernalillo County Sheriff Department (BCSO) is the best way to determine who was at fault for your  car accidenttruck accident or  motorcycle accident.


If you have been in an accident in the Albuquerque area, then most likely an APD officer or Sheriff deputy showed up at the scene to investigate the accident and prepare the accident report.


At the scene the officer talked with the drivers of the vehicles and any witnesses who presented themselves to him/her with information about the collision.


The officer most likely took handwritten notes of the individuals which will be typed on to a computer form. The officer will also assess the amount of damage and location of the damage to the vehicles and other property that might have been involved.  The officer will also look for other physical evidence such as skid marks, broken glass.  Most importantly the officer will assess the actual location of the accident taking into consideration the number of lanes, traffic control devices like stop signs and traffic signals and the amount of traffic. The officer will also note any complaints of personal injuries from the collision.


Based on his/her own training and the laws of the state of New Mexico, the officer will determine which driver was at fault.  In some instances the officer will cite one of the drivers.


Normally the officer will not give each driver any information on the other driver.  Instead, the officer will give you his/her business card with the accident report record locator number written on the card.  The officer will tell you that the accident report will be available in 7 to 10 days.


The APD officer or Sheriff deputy will then enter all the information from the handwritten notes on to a computerized form approved by the State of New Mexico.  The report includes all of the information discussed above, but the report has a separate section called “Contributing Factors“.  It is this section that is the most important section of the report, because it determines who is at fault for the collision.


Let me explain to you how to read this section.


Each “Contributing Factors” section on the accident report identifies a specific vehicle such as vehicle 1, vehicle 2, vehicle 3, etc. You will need to look at the first few pages of the accident report to determine which driver and vehicle you are to determine which section of the “Contributing Factors” applies to you.  So, if you are vehicle/driver one on the page 1 of the report, then your “Contributing Factors” are only those listed for vehicle on on about page 3 of the report.


A perfect notation in the section would be something like “No Contributing Factor” or “None” meaning that you did absolutely nothing to cause the collision.  Other notations like “Speeding Too Fast for Conditions” or “Failing to Yield” or “Disregarding Traffic Controls” mean that you caused the collision.


In my experience as a personal injury attorney I believe that the “Contributing Factor” section of the accident report is the primary factor that insurance companies and attorneys use to determine who is at fault.

It is very difficult to get an insurance company to reject the findings of the officer unless the officer clearly made a mistake and reversed the parties. (This does happen!)


The officer is the best person to make a decision on who is at fault for the vehicular collision.  He is at the scene minutes after the collision. The officer can judge the character of the drivers and witnesses to help determine who he/she believes is telling the truth.  The officer sees the physical evidence and the location first hand.


If you review the accident report prepared by the officer and find errors, you can file a supplemental report to be attached to the accident report. You can do so by taking the original report with you to the local APD or BCSO office and requesting a supplemental sheet.  You can handwrite your version of the collision together with the accident report number appearing on the original accident report and submit it to staff at the office.


Witnesses who are not listed on the accident report are not very credible.  The exception is the witness who may be noted on the 911 transcript. It is important to get a copy of the transcript from the APD or BCSO if the fault of one of the parties is important.


Often times the transcript will indicate that a particular witness used his/her cell phone to report an accident that they actually witnessed.  However, because of time constraints they did not stop to talk with the individuals involved or wait for the investigating officer.


If you have questions concerning your vehicle accident please contact Caruso Law Offices at 505-883-5000 for a free consultation.  Also, visit our web site at   We only handle  personal injury  and  wrongful death  cases as a result of a car, truck, motorcycle, bus, bicycle or pedestrian accidents.



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Medical Care and Expenses From Your New Mexico Car Accident

- Mark Caruso

If you are involved in an accident or collision that is not your fault, New Mexico law clearly states that you are entitled to be paid your  medical expenses from the at-fault driver or its insurance company. Since you didn’t cause the accident, it is reasonable for you to expect that they would pay for all of your medical expenses.  The question I am most oftern asked as an Albuquerque Personal Injury Attorney is, “What types of medical care will be covered?    This is the topic of today’s blog by Mark Caruso, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney.


Let’s look at the actual law according to the New Mexico Statutes.  For this we turn to the NM Jury Instuctions 13-1804.  This is the law that the judge reads to the jury, and is the law that is applicable to before trial and during settlement as well.  The law states, You are entitled to “The reasonable expense of necessary medical care, treatment and services received and the present cash value of the reasonable expenses of medical care, treatment and services certain to be received in the future.” Also, 13-1802 states that the injury must have resulted from the negligence of the other person.  Taken together, and in layman’s terms, the law is this…You are entitled to reasonable medical expenses you need as a result of the negligence of the other driver.

Clearly transport by ambulance and ER care meet this criteria. But questions are always raised by insurance companies about follow up care with your primary care doctors, medications, physical therapy, chiropractice care, medical massage therapy and other medical care.  Note that the law does not limit the care to anything except two words…..(1) result and (2) reasonable.  The law doesn’t say that you don’t get reimbursed for chiropractic care or medical massage therapy or limit you in advance of the type of medical care from your accident.

Auto insurance company claims adjusters try to limit your medical care or scare you into believing that certain medical care will not be paid for These are interpretations, restrictions and limitations wrongly placed on NM law by greedy insurance companies trying to save money for their shareholders.  You shouldn’t let claims adjusters from State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, Geico, Progressive, USAA, Fred Loya, Travelers, Hartford, Nevada General and other insurance companies decide the medical care you should get.  They are not doctors, they are just claims adjusters!  Only your doctor and health care providers should decide your medical care.

In order to prove that the medical care from your wreck should be paid to you, you merely need to be able to show the following:

A.  You gave your doctor or health care provider an honest history or your prior medical condition and what happened in the wreck?

History of Prior Injuries:    It is extremely important to tell your doctor about prior problems, symptoms and medical care to the part of the body that you are currently claiming was injured as a result of the wreck. Clearly, he cannot state that you suffered an injury from the current wreck unless he knows about prior problems.  Your doctor may be able to state that you aggravated your prior condition in the current wreck if your symptoms are now worse than before the wreck.

History of Current Wreck:   It is also important to tell your doctor exactly how the wreck happened, the speed of impact, the location of the impact and the amount of damages to your vehicle, if known.  The doctor needs an accurate history of the wreck to determine whether you sustained a significant impact to cause the injuries you are now claiming were from this same wreck.

B.  Your doctor or health care provider examined you.

The doctor needs to perform an actual examination of your injuries.  The doctor will normally check your range of motion and areas of sensitivity and pain.  Make sure to report all of your symptoms to your doctor so that your doctor can examine each area of your body that is painful.

C.  Your doctor performed diagnostic tests such as x-rays.

Don’t be surprised if your doctor asks your permission to perform diagnostic tests such as x-rays to help the doctor determine the extent of injuries.  X-rays are important to determine broken bones but are also useful in determining the effects of a soft tissue injury on your spine.


D.  Your doctor reached a diagnosis that your injuries were a result of the accident.

Once your doctor takes your history, completes your examination and reviews the diagnostic reports he/she will reach a diagnosis of your injuries.  The diagnosis will tell you the injury that you suffered and will also state the cause of the injury.  An example would be that you suffered a broken leg as a result of the wreck or that you suffered a whiplash as a result of the wreck.

E.  Your doctor will recommend and prescribe treatment or medications for your injuries.

Now that you have been told that your injuries are a result of the wreck, the doctor’s job is to try and fix those injuries.  Some doctors will give you drugs and send you home.  Better doctors will make a referral for physical therapy, chiropractic care and perhaps medical massage therapy.  At the conclusion of your care, the doctor will state that that care that has been provided is reasonable.  Usually, the doctor’s final report lays out all of the doctor’s findings about history, examination, diagnostic tests, diagnosis and treatment.  It is extremely important that you doctor create this final report, because you will need it for the insurance company and perhaps even for litigation.

Our firm asks the doctor to also state that the treatment was reasonable, necessary and customary.  This means that the treatment  was the type of treatment that would have been provided by other doctors of the same qualifications in the area for the same or similar price of other doctors in the area. It also means that the treatment was necessary to treat the injuries, not just optional treatment.

Often times, outside sources can be used to help prove that the injuries were reasonable and customary.  Our firm utilizes two such sources for chiropractic injuries and treatment.

The first is the Croft Guidelines.   These Guidelines have been accepted by the New Mexico Chiropractic Association as the guidelines for chiropractic care in our state.  The Guidlines permit a specific number of treatments over a specific duration of time based on the findings of degrees of injuries. As long as the treatment of the chiropractor falls within these Guidelines, the treatment is deemed reasonable. It is important that your chiropractor limit treatment to that which is permitted by the Guidelines, or the insurance company will use the Guidelines to argue that the care was excessive. You should only use chiropractors who are familiar with the Guidelines and agree to treat you in accordance with the Guidelines.

The second is the PMIC. The PMIC is a national publication used by health care providers and insurance companies nationwide to determine the customary charges for a particular service or procedure.  Each individual service or procedure done by a health care provider is designated a code,  and each code is designated a customary price in the community. Compare your charges from your doctor with the average charged by other doctors to determine whether your doctor was charging a customary charge in the community. You will have problems getting the insurance compoany to pay or reimburse you for charges that exceed the customary charge in your community.


Under NM law you are entitled to reasonable medcial care to take care of your injuries from the collision.  In communicating with all health care providers you must be honest in reporting your history and when cooperating with your doctor for the examination, the diagnostic tests and treatment.  The doctor’s diagnosis will determine whether the insurance company will pay for these injuries  provided the health care providers complies with Guidelines established by the doctor’s profession and PMIC.

Caruso Law Offices exclusively handles personal injuries and wrongful death as a result of accidents, collisions and wrecks from autos, trucks, motorcycles, buses, bicycles and pedestrians. We do our best to insure that the health care providers our clients see have done everything possible to prove that the injuries claimed by our clients were reasonable and a result of the accident. Sometimes that means pressuring the doctors to write reports, and other times it means arguing with a doctor why their charges are too high.

We fight for our clients not only with the insurance companies but also argue on their behalf to their health care providers. After  all, we work for our clients–not the insurance companies or the health care providers.


Located in Albuquerque, Caruso Law Offices handles cases statewide throughout New Mexico.  We have two locations in Albuquerque–Northeast Heights and Westside.  Free consultations with an attorney can be scheduled by calling us at (505) 883-5000. You can also visit our web site at  Mark Caruso is a former insurance company attorney who now works against these same insurance companies to get his clients the most money possible.  Licensed since 1982 our firm has represented tens of thousands of personal injury and wrongful death clients with vehicular accidents,  malpractice, product injury and other negligence. Our firm handles injuries whiplash, spinal injuries, head trauma, PTSD, permanent injuries and wrongful death.  Please contact our firm if we can help you in any way.

We are highly rated and ranked as one of the top New Mexico personal injury and wrongful death attorneys by as a 9.6 SUPERB.   We have peer reviews by other attorneys and reviews by our clients at this site.   We have received a Client Distinction Award and been rated a 4.5/5.0 by Martindale Hubbell ratings.  We have an A+ rating by the New Mexico Better Business Bureau.  We have been selected as a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Formum.  We are members of the NM Trial Lawyers Association and the American Association for Justice.  Also, as  a Christian attorney, Mark Caruso believes in honesty and fairness in everything he does at the office and away from the office.  We take care of our clients and it shows in these reviews. We continue to strive to receive the best reviews possible.

We offer a discounted 29% attorney fee on all cases that are settled prior to a lawsuit being filed. This discounted fee puts more money in your pocket when compared with other personal injury attorneys who charge the higher 33 1/3% fee to help pay for their expensive television, radio, billboard and bus advertising.  We pass this savings directly to you. However, you still receive the same quality care by a firm which fights for its clients to get them the most money possible on their personal injury claim.

Watch this Blog for future topics by Mark Caruso  about your right to money for  Pain and Suffering,  Lost Earnings,  Permanent Injury,  Punitive Damages  under NM law.

If you have a question that you need answered quickly, call Mark Caruso and he will be happy to share his knowledge with you, for FREE!

Just call 505-883-5000 and ask for Mark Caruso