Fatal crash closes Tunnel Vista Observation Site
May 10, 2019 07:05 PM
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — Tuesday morning there was a fatal crash on U.S. 82 near mile post 8, west of Cloudcroft, according to police.
"Smoke was coming out from underneath the tractor wheels in the front area," said Gretchen Casillas, who drove past the driver on the highway shortly before the accident occurred.
Casillas said she was driving with her husband up the mountain when a truck "sped" past her.
They figured something was wrong.
"We were thinking, oh gosh, if anybody is in his way, there's no way this guy can slow down," Casillas said. "The fact that his smoke was coming out, smelling electrical, we automatically thought Jake brake – which means there's no way his engine can slow him down either, so he's along for the ride."
New Mexico State Police spokesman Dusty Francisco said the driver, 47-year-old Quinton Mays, died. The truck fell into a canyon off the side of U.S. 82, near the Lincoln National Forest Tunnel Vista.
"Mr. Mays sustained fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced deceased on scene by the office of medical investigator," Francisco said.
While some witnesses said his brakes failed heading westbound into the tunnel, police haven't confirmed that was the case.
The runaway truck ramp – which provides safety for drivers experiencing brake issues – was only two miles away from the tunnel where his truck crashed.
As of now, the Tunnel Vista site is closed until further notice.
The case is still under investigation.
Created: May 10, 2019 07:05 PM
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