Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Five fatal crashes around New Mexico leave six dead

Six people were killed and several more were injured in separate car crashes around the state Friday and Saturday — three of which were head-on collisions.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in any of the incidents, according to New Mexico State Police.

The first crash occurred around 10:30 am Friday on State Road 11 in Luna County.

Officer Ray Wilson, a State Police spokesman, said 20-year-old Caleb De Santiago, of Las Cruces, was traveling north in a Nissan Tsuru when he crossed the center line and collided head-on with a 43-year-old Columbus man driving a Toyota Corolla.

De Santiago died at the scene. The other driver was taken to the hospital and his condition was unknown.

Several hours later, around 3 pm, there was another head-on collision in Luna County — this time leaving two people dead.

Wilson said a 15-year-old was driving a Toyota Tacoma east on State Road 26 when he crossed the center line and struck a Dodge pickup truck head-on. Both of his passengers — Martyn Pearson, 38, and Alexandra Olsen, 40 — died at the scene.

The 70-year-old driver of the Dodge pickup and the 15-year-old were taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Pearson and Olsen owned Gila Hike and Bike shop in downtown Silver City and were well-known in the area, according to the Las Cruces Sun News.

The following morning across the state in Quay County a 32-year-old man had parked his Chevrolet Impala on the north side of US 53 westbound lanes, with the driver’s side of the vehicle still partially in the lane.

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Wilson said around 10 am a truck rear-ended the Impala, knocking it off the road. Both the driver, Ervin Burton Jr. of Chicago, Illinois, and his 27-year-old passenger were injured. Burton died at the hospital; his passenger’s condition is not known. Wilson said they weren’t wearing seatbelts.

The 42-year-old truck driver was not injured.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, 24-year-old Leanna Florez of Blanco, New Mexico, was traveling west on US 64 in San Juan County when she crossed the center line and crashed head-on into a Toyota Tundra.

Wilson said Florez was not wearing a seatbelt and died at the scene. He said the 58-year-old driver of the Tundra and his three passengers were injured and taken to the hospital.

That night, around 8 pm, on the same highway but more than 40 miles away a pedestrian was crossing the road when he was struck by a 51-year-old driving a Mitsubishi Outlander, Wilson said.

Ramon Natividad-Garcia, 40, of Bloomfield was taken to the hospital, where he died. The driver and passenger of the Mitsubishi were not injured.

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