Authorities say all five people killed in a fiery crash in southeastern New Mexico’s oil country were from Texas.
New Mexico State Police say the crash happened Thursday morning on a state road east of Jal when the driver of a pickup truck crossed the center line into eastbound traffic and collided head-on with a tractor-trailer rig.
Officer Ray Wilson said Friday it’s unclear what caused the driver, identified as 22-year-old Arturo Barboza of Odessa, to cross the center line.
Barboza’s passengers 28-year-old Alonso Hernandez and 58-year-old Enrique Leon, both of Odessa, and 25-year-old Justin Brown of Montgomery were also killed.
Police identified the semi driver as 27-year-old Rayshawda Riley of Arlington.
Both vehicles caught fire after the collision.
The accident took place about 250 yards east of mile marker 56. Around 8:41 a.m. Thursday NMSP said its officers were on scene and investigating a crash involving multiple fatalities and that NM 128 was closed from milepost 55-59. All east bound traffic was diverted to Willis Road and all west bound traffic was diverted to Dollar Hide Road for much of the day.
Local leaders and some state lawmakers have voiced concerns about safety as traffic has increased on rural roads throughout the region because of the oil boom in the Permian Basin.