Unrelated crashes leave one dead, 6 injured

Darrell Todd Maurina

One woman died and six people were hospitalized in two unrelated car crashes late last week, officials said.
Patrolman Jason Spearman of the New Mexico State Police said he arrived about 4:20 p.m. Friday at the scene of a one-vehicle rollover crash on U.S. Highway 70 a few feet from the Curry-Roosevelt county line, where he found a young woman had been ejected 15 feet out of a Ford Explorer.
Rayla Parraz, 20, a student at Eastern New Mexico University from Taos, was transported to Plains Regional Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. The driver, Andrea Duran of Clovis, and a second passenger, Lia Romero of Taos, both 20, were also hospitalized, according to police.
Spearman said the minivan did two side-over-side rolls into the median after the right rear passenger tire blew out and the driver was unable to maintain control. Parraz was not wearing her seatbelt at the time of the crash, Spearman said, and her injuries included head trauma as well as neck and spine damage.
“It’s not alcohol or speed-related,” Spearman said. “It was just old worn tires.”
Portales police officials are not releasing the names of four people injured in a two-vehicle crash late Thursday afternoon.
The wreck at the corner of North Avenue J and Hickory Street sent four people to the hospital including a 1-month-old child who was flown to a Lubbock hospital and listed in serious condition, hospital officials at Roosevelt General Hospital said. Capt. Lonnie Berry of the Portales Police Department said Saturday the child’s condition was stable.
Berry said a red compact car collided with a brown van, which then careened into a mother who was crossing the road with her child. The force of the van forced the mother to drop her child, who was secured to the mother via a baby-carrying pouch, witnesses at the scene said.
The mother also went to the hospital, Berry said.
Berry said he could not release names involved in the wreck, which is still being investigated by the police.
“Right now there has been some discrepancy as to who was driving one of the cars,” he said. “The people in the car say someone is driving, but witnesses said somebody else was driving.”
Berry said no charges have yet been filed and he expects the police investigation to be finished by the middle of the week.
“I don’t think we’re at a point that we can say there will be charges, but I also don’t want to say there won’t be,” Berry said.
Mike Linn of Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico contributed to this report.