Written by Officer Ray Wilson 02/16/2022
Torrance County, NM-On February 12, 2022, at about 9:26 a.m., a New Mexico State Police Officer on patrol was dispatched to the area of Interstate 40 and milepost 226 for a report of a blue Kenworth tractor-trailer traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes on I-40, near Moriarty, NM.
The quick-thinking NMSP officer closed eastbound I-40 at milepost 211 and warned drivers of the approaching wrong way CMV. The officer deployed tire deflation devices across the eastbound lanes of I-40 in an attempt to stop the wrong way CMV. After driving 13 miles in the wrong direction, and before reaching the officer’s location, the CMV driver crossed the median and continued driving erratically in the correct direction of westbound I-40.
The NMSP officer with assistance from a Torrance County Sheriff’s Office deputy caught up to the CMV near milepost 197 and conducted a traffic stop. Following a DWI investigation by the NMSP officer, the driver, Richard Strach, 52, of Plains, PA, was arrested for DWI. He was booked into the Torrance County Detention Center and charged with Driving While Under the Influence (DWI 1st offense), Driving on the Wrong Side of the Road, and Reckless Driving.
“Because of the swift actions of my officers and their coordination and teamwork with the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office, no one was injured in this incident”. Said Tim Johnson, Chief of the New Mexico State Police. “I urge all motorists on the roadway to report drivers they think are driving under the influence by calling #DWI (#394)”.
This incident was investigated by the New Mexico State Police with assistance from the Torrance County Sheriff’s Office.