5 people were killed Thursday in a head-on collision between a pickup truck and a semi-truck on New Mexico Highway 128 just east of Jal. Preliminary reports indicate that the pickup truck, with one driver and three passengers, crossed the center line and collided head-on with a semi-truck. The driver of the semi-truck, Rayshawda Riley, 27, of Arlington, Texas, was killed. All four occupants of the pickup truck were also killed: Arturo Barboza, 22, of Odessa, Texas; Alonso Hernandez, 19, of Odessa, Texas; Justin Brown, 25, of Montgomery, Texas; and Enrique Leon, 58, of Odessa, Texas. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.
In cases like these, distracted driving or driver fatigue are often the main causes. In either case, the families of all three passengers of the pickup truck, as well the family of the semi-truck driver would have a wrongful death claim against the driver of the pickup truck for causing the crash. In both Texas and New Mexico, parents, spouses, and children of a person killed can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Hiring an attorney quickly is important, however, because critical evidence must be preserved, like the vehicle data recorders (“black boxes”), cell phone data, and the condition of the vehicles after the crash, as well as and markings at the scene, like tire skid marks.