Child dies in collision on Interstate 40 outside Albuquerque

Posted at: 04/14/2013 3:23 PM
Updated at: 04/14/2013 10:40 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A six-year-old boy is dead following a Sunday afternoon crash that tied up traffic along Interstate 40.

That stretch of I-40 near Rio Puerco had four crashes in just two hours today.

While motorists flew on by westbound I-40 near Rio Puerco on Sunday afternoon, eastbound lanes became a parking lot for hundreds of people.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office had to sift through a tragic scene at mile marker 143.

Five people, including 3 juveniles were traveling eastbound in a white PT Cruiser. BCSO says the driver, Roberto Gamboa, slowed down as he passed a crash involving a semi truck and an SUV, but then another semi rear-ended Gamboa’s vehicle.

"When we saw all the police cars, we knew it was bad," said motorist Sandee Claypool.

And it was. A six-year-old boy inside the PT Cruiser was pronounced dead on the scene. Although BCSO isn’t faulting the windy conditions for the crash, drivers like Sandee and Paul Claypool, are extra caution when dealing with the wind.

"When you pull a travel trailer when the semis pass you it wants to suck you in, into the other lane," said Claypool. "The wind wants to blow me around from side to side so it takes a little more control," said semi-tractor trailer driver Mel Ochoa.

Even after 18 years of driving big rigs, Ochoa still remembers a close call here.

"I've had the wind lift my trailer tires up off the ground before. Here in New Mexico by the Sky City Casino," he said.

The sheriff’s office says charges aren’t being filed against the driver of the semi involved in the crash, saying there’s no indication either driver was reckless or careless.

The four other people in the PT Cruiser were taken to the hospital. Their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.