Transient man run over by semi

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Socorro police have identified the body of a man run over and killed at the corner of Highway 85 and B Street sometime after midnight on Saturday, March 3, as 60-year old Gregory Saylor. He is believed to have been run over by the rear tire of a semi-trailer that came up over the curb when the driver was making a right-hand turn onto B Street.

Police Chief George Van Winkle said Saylor was originally from Ohio, but had a New Mexico driver’s licence with a Las Cruces address, and appeared to be a transient.

“We don’t know how long he’d been here (in Socorro) but we think he was fairly new,” Assistant Chief Mike Winders said.

Police were notified there was a body at the intersection at 6:51 a.m. Saturday, but believe the man died about six hours earlier. He appeared to have been run over through his mid-section and lower two-thirds of his body.

“We think he died immediately,” Van Winkle said.

Winders said security video from the Shell station on the northeast corner of the intersection shows the man, wearing headphones, sitting next to a model of a rocket on the opposite corner, at about 11 p.m. Friday night. Roughly an hour later, the video shows a long gold and white semi making a wide turn and pulling to a stop on B Street. The driver exited the truck and walked up to the door of the gas station’s convenience store, which closed at 11 p.m. Friday night.

“He probably didn’t even know he had run someone over,” Van Winkle said. “On the video, he nonchalantly walks up to the door, tries the door, nonchalantly walks back to the truck and drives away.”

Assistant Chief Mike Winders said the video is grainy, making it difficult to make out the make of the truck, the writing on the side or any numbers, but they’re trying different resources to sharpen the images.

“We believe we’ll be able to locate the trucking company,” Winders said. “We have a good picture of the driver, because he came up to the door.”

The images of the driver show a Hispanic man, probably in his 50s, with a birthmark on the right side of his face. Police said his height is difficult to determine, but he may have been about 5 feet 8 or 9 inches tall.

The police have notified the Department of Transportation and the Border Patrol, but are not sure where the truck came from, just that it appears to have entered Socorro from the south and headed north when it exited the gas station.

Winders said he doesn’t believe the tire marks on the sidewalk where Saylor died were made by the truck that hit him.

“If you look at those tire marks, there’s a high probability that the truck would have hit the pole — it’s the wrong trajectory,” Winders said. “I think those are from an earlier guy who had hit his brakes, and maybe backed up.”

“It’s not the first semi to have run over the curb at that corner,” Van Winkle said.

There are streetlights to the north and south of the intersection, but not at that corner.

“It’s kind of a dark spot,” Van Winkle said. “I had three officers on patrol that night who never saw him, and there were people pulling into the gas station all night. No one else ever saw him either.”

Van Winkle said there were no signs Saylor was intoxicated.

 


-- Email the author at sbarteau@dchieftain.com.