Two men were killed in a head-on collision on New Mexico Highway 128 Friday morning as the busy oilfield highway continues to rack up a disproportionate number of fatalities.
State police said the initial investigation indicates the head-on crash occurred shortly before 8 a.m. Friday east of Loving in Eddy County when an eastbound car on Highway 128 driven by 19-year-old R.A. Steve Stephens of Trinity, Texas, drifted into the oncoming traffic for unknown reasons and crashed into a westbound pickup truck being driven by 47-year-old Anthony Robert Capetillo of McAllen, Texas.
Both drivers sustained fatal injuries and were both pronounced dead at scene of the crash near mile post 15 by the Office of the Medical Investigator.
Police said alcohol does not appear to be a contributing factor and seatbelts appear to have not been utilized.
Recently, an Orange, Texas, man was killed in a head-on crash on Highway 128, west of Jal.
State police said 56-year-old Luis Carlos Cruz of Orange, Texas, was driving a pickup westbound on the two-lane highway at about 7:15 a.m. March 11 when an eastbound pickup being driven by a 28-year-old Laredo, Texas, man drifted into the oncoming traffic and struck the left rear-end of a westbound car being driven by a 27-year-old man.
The car spun off the highway as the pickup truck collided head-on with Cruz’s pickup, near mile post 35.
Cruz was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and passenger of the other pickup truck both sustained injuries and were transported to a local hospital. The driver and passenger of the car also complained of injuries.
Police said alcohol was not an apparent factor in that crash and seatbelts appear to have been worn by everyone except Cruz. Police said the driver of the pickup that veered into the oncoming lane would be charged.
Ray Wilson, a public information officer for New Mexico State Police, said there were nine fatal crashes on Highway 128 in 2018.
State Highway 128, also known as Jal Highway, stretches only 60 miles from New Mexico 31 east of Loving to the Texas state line after passing through Jal. It is maintained by the New Mexico Department of Transportation.