The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

State police: Four-car crash west of Melrose injures 15


March 13, 2018

TOLAR — A four-vehicle crash Saturday afternoon west of Melrose sent 15 people to the hospital, officials said.

“HIPPA laws prevent us from knowing the extent of anyone’s injuries; however, none have been reported to have received fatal injuries,” New Mexico State Police Public Information Officer Ray Wilson said Saturday night.

NMSP was dispatched around 3:15 p.m. to the crash scene at mile post 347 of US 60, near Tolar, Wilson said. That’s about 40 miles west of Clovis, between Melrose and Fort Sumner.

“It is believed a Jeep traveling west bound for unknown reasons crossed the center line striking a Toyota SUV. The Toyota in turn struck a white F-150 Ford pickup and then struck a fourth unknown type vehicle,” Wilson wrote in an email to The News. “The Jeep and the fourth vehicle both rolled several times.”

Five occupants of the unknown fourth vehicle “were treated and released from a local area hospital,” Wilson wrote. Meanwhile, four occupants of the Ford truck “were driven to the hospital by a private vehicle,” and four occupants of the Toyota SUV were transported to Lubbock, one by helicopter.

Two occupants of the Jeep were transported to Lubbock by ground ambulance, Wilson wrote.

All vehicles were extensively damaged, alcohol is not believed to have been a factor and all occupants appeared to have worn a seat belt.

Several motorists noted a long line of traffic near Tolar Saturday evening. One of them described seeing the crash scene in a message to The News.

“It was a sad scene and there were multiple cars involved and stuff all over the road,” wrote Ellen Haakma, who was driving home from Albuquerque. “I saw a mother carry a very tiny baby and she had a young boy with her also. ... There was a Jeep laying near the train tracks and there was nothing left of it. On the opposite side of the road there was a maroon SUV that was mangled and teen girls laying on the grass near it with adults helping them.”

“There was another group of young girls standing in a circle talking and crying,” she continued. “I have been praying for the people involved. I have teen girls and to see such a large group of them traumatized and injured was very upsetting for me.”

The investigation is ongoing, Wilson said. He did not respond Monday to a request for additional updates.


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