Roswell, NM – On Saturday, January 2, 2021, at around 5:30 p.m., New Mexico State Police officers were dispatched to a fatal crash on U.S. 285 near milepost 96, south of Roswell, NM.
The initial investigation indicates that a 2006 Chrysler passenger van, driven by a 50-year-old female of Dexter, NM was traveling north in the right northbound lane of U.S. 285. The Chrysler made a lane change from the right lane over to the left northbound lane in preparation for a left turn onto W. Orchard Park Road. As the Chrysler switched lanes, it failed to yield to a 2014 Jeep Cherokee driven by a 25-year-old male of Roswell, NM traveling north in the left northbound lane. The Jeep rear-ended the Chrysler, and it went into the median and rolled into the southbound lanes of U.S. 285.
The passenger in the Chrysler, Gilardo Padilla, 74, of Dexter, NM suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased by the Office of the Medical Investigator at an area hospital. The driver of the Chrysler was transported for what is believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Jeep was uninjured.
Alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in this crash and the deceased did not appear to have been properly wearing a seatbelt. Seatbelts were used by both the drivers. Surviving victims of crashes are not identified in press releases. This crash remains under investigation by the New Mexico State Police.