Updated: 11/03/2014 9:07 PM |
Created: 10/24/2013 10:14 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News 4
KOB's 4 On Your Side investigation into the Tierra Blanca Ranch for at-risk teens began with a tragic accident on a dark, dirt road in Southern New Mexico.
A pickup truck loaded with several teens from the ranch flipped and rolled in September, killing one man.
Tonight, we've obtained the accident investigation report.
The Tierra Blanca Ranch is 30,000 acres, far from any city, in Sierra County, a place where parents send their troubled teens.
It was on a dirt road that connects two of the ranch houses that the fatal wreck happened.
Three teenaged boys that were riding in that truck tell the same story.
The driver was going slowly initially. Then, he punched the accelerator going into a curve, drifted, and rolled the truck three times.
A fourth teen riding in the bed of the pickup, 18-year-old Bruce Staeger, lay bleeding 17 feet from the truck. He would later be airlifted to El Paso, where he died hours later.
The passengers inside the truck were also cut and bleeding.
According to a statement by one of the teens, Oscar Ruiz, nobody was wearing their seat belts.
From recordings made at the scene, as officers interviewed the survivors, we learn the boys had been watching football with the parents of ranch supervisor Scott Chandler. Scott's mother, Kay, was questioned.
She was asked if there was drinking involved. Kay responded there was no drinking and all the boys had was Coke.
All the boys say the driver, 18-year-old ranch worker Michael Taylor Myers, was going 45-60 miles per hour on that curve.
One of the teens, Michael Rozell, called Myers a "careless driver" who typically drove too fast.
In a statement, Rozell said, "All us kids in the program, we're all like, well, he's gonna get in a wreck one day and it's either gonna be a wakeup call or he's gonna keep doing this."
Thre State POolice investigation concluded excessive speed caused the fatal accident.
After the crash, 4 On Your Side began uncovering allegations of abuse at Tierra Blanca Ranch; allegations that would ultimately lead to a state raid on the property.
The abuse investigation involving State Police and CYFD is still ongoing.