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Head-on crash kills 1

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Second driver able to walk away from pickup after collision

By Carol A. Clark

A woman was killed this morning in a head-on collision on East Jemez Road near Royal Crest Mobile Home Park.

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Miranda Martinez, 29, of Velarde was driving a gray Nissan Altima west on East Jemez Road when Matthew Vigil, 33, of Ponderosa in the Jemez, driving his Chevy Silverado pick-up eastbound, crossed over the line and struck her car.

“It’s tragic when a young woman dies - she had an 8-year-old son and a 1-year-old baby,” Deputy Fire Chief Patrick Sleik said.

Sleik said Martinez was driving to work at Los  Alamos National Laboratory’s TA-3 area.

A LANL badge found at the scene initially confirmed her identity for officials.

“On behalf of the laboratory director and the laboratory as a whole, our deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Miranda,” LANL spokesman Kevin Roark said. “It’s always upsetting when there’s any kind of traffic accident but when there’s a loss of life – it’s an absolute tragedy.”

Vigil “walked away from the truck and is likely in satisfactory condition at the hospital,” Sleik said.

Los Alamos Medical Center spokeswoman Wendy Hoffman confirmed Vigil was in the emergency room in stable condition this morning.

Authorities at the scene initially searched for a baby because there was a child seat in the back seat of the Altima.

“We checked and confirmed that the baby was at a safe location and not in the car at the time of the accident,” Capt. Randy Foster said.

Another vehicle traveling westbound near Martinez’ vehicle was able to maneuver out of the truck’s path,  Sleik said.

Debris and car parts stretched from the center of the street where the Altima ended up with its front end collapsed into its interior.  

The right front fender was damaged and the wheel knocked off the Silverado, which settled at the right side of the road.  

Citations may be issued, pending the outcome of the police investigation, Foster said.

“We don’t have a high frequency of accidents on any of these roads and there’s nothing here that indicated this was influenced by road conditions or weather conditions …,” Police Chief Wayne Torpy said. “We’re investigating all the information and interviewing witnesses.”

The accident blocked morning rush hour and stopped traffic for a couple of miles. Many of the cars turned around on their own and at about 8:30 a.m. Los Alamos police began directing drivers to turn around.

Trucks were re-routed near the inspection station at the intersection of N.M. 4 and East Jemez Road.

The road was completely closed at La Mesita.

Police and fire officials assisted a Park ‘n Ride bus to get turned around so it could go back down the truck route hill.

Three larger semi-trucks also had to be helped to turn around. Police expected the truck route to re-open by early afternoon.

 

Garrison Wells contributed to this story.