Thursday, March 30, 2023

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Police Blotter: Snow storm causes rash of I-40 accidents


The snowfall on Sunday in the Gallup area created icy spots throughout the day on Interstate 40, causing several accidents including one that involved six vehicles. Several reservation residents found themselves involved in these accidents.

Most of the people involved in the accidents escaped with minor injuries.

The first accident that was reported was at 11 a.m. near milepost 26 on the east side of Gallup. In this accident, a vehicle with a driver from Colorado spun out of control because of the icy road into the path of a semi-trailer. The McKinley County Sheriff deputy who did the accident report said the accident occurred on a curve over a blind spot.

The semi-truck received minor damages and went in its way while the other vehicle received major damage and had to be towed. No major injuries were reported.

The big accident of the day occurred about 11:37 a.m. and involved seven vehicles, one driven by a man from Tohajiilee and another by a man from Yah-Tah-Hey, New Mexico.

According to a report from the sheriff’s office, the accident started when a truck driven by Maliha Moeed began slowing down because of the intensity of the snow. The report said that she was then rear-ended by another truck driver. Both are from California, according to the report.

The driver of the second truck told deputies that Moeed made a quick stop and because of road conditions and he did not have time to stop. Before deputies arrived, four more vehicles crashed into the first two trucks or into each other. A third driver, who was from Oklahoma, said he slid about 100 feet in his attempt to stop before he hit the first two trucks.

The fourth vehicle was driven by Benjamin Etcitty, 57, from Tohajiilee. He told deputies that he saw the third vehicle hit the second truck when he spun out of control because of road conditions. The next two vehicles managed to stop before hitting the first four but collided into each other. One was driven by Sheridan Sandoval, 19, of Yah-Tah-Hey. The sheriff’s report said only the first truck had to be towed. The rest were drivable and only the driver of the first truck was reported to have injuries.

The next accident occurred at 1:31 p.m. at Milepost 41 and road conditions were still bad. The driver, who was from Texas, had a 24-foot trailer attached to his car and the trailer began sliding on the ice onto the shoulder of the road. No injuries were reported.

The final accident occurred about 2:26 p.m. near Milepost 50 with drivers from Arkansas and Texas. The driver from Arkansas said she stopped when she saw an accident in front of her and was tear-ended by a driver from Texas. Neither driver was injured but the driver from Arkansas said her company wanted her to go to the hospital to take a urine test as per company policy.

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About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan wrote about Navajo Nation government and its people since 1971. He joined Navajo Times in 1976, and retired from full-time reporting in 2018 to move to Torrance, Calif., to be near his kids. He continued to write for the Times until his passing in August 2022.


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