Sand traps families in homes; Bernalillo County unable to help

Posted at: 07/07/2014 10:31 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News

More than a half dozen people on the Pajarito Mesa are unable to visit their doctors or buy groceries after heavy rain washed thick sand over the lone road in and out of their neighborhood.

"Oh, I got stuck. Completely stuck," Selina Fermin-Roman said.

She attempted to drive to the grocery store last Tuesday in her small, front-wheel drive Ford Focus.

A stalled thunder cell dropped torrential rain for more than a half hour on Pajarito Mesa last Monday, Fermin-Roman said.

She and her husband have lived on Pajarito Mesa for 25 years.

The unincorporated community is one of a few in the United States that doesn't have electricity, running water, or other utilities.

There aren't any paved roads either.

In some spots, the fine sand is up to a foot thick along Power Way Road SW.

In other spots, the water carved trenches two to four feet deep.

Fermin-Roman called Bernalillo County a few times seeking assistance.

She never received a return call.

"Oh, they got me so frustrated. I left them a mean message," she said.

4 On Your Side contacted the county as well and learned that county workers cannot assist with sand removal or road grading.

A county spokesperson said the roads within Pajarito Mesa are privately-owned.

Thus, under New Mexico's anti-donation clause, it would be illegal for the county to supply county funds for private work.

"We're taxpayers. We should be able to get help from the county," Fermin-Roman said.

She hopes a private contractor might be willing to volunteer part of their day to assist in leveling the road if the county cannot.