Driver leaves his seat

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A semi tractor trailer crash took out electricity and telephone service in San Acacia on April 19 because the driver wasn’t driving, Socorro County Sheriff’s Department deputies reported.

Deputy Ed Sweeney said the driver’s girlfriend, who was in the sleeping compartment at the time, had a seizure. Sweeney said the driver then left his seat, turning around to attend his girlfriend, leaving the semi to its own devices.

The sheriff’s department accident report states the couple are from Michigan. The semi was traveling southbound on Interstate 25 near mile marker 163 when the woman’s seizure commenced.

Deputy William Armijo said once the driver left his seat, the semi crossed both southbound lanes of the interstate, crossed the median, crossed the interstate’s northbound lanes — still heading south-southeast, which Armijo remarked could have led to a head-on collision — and left I-25.

The semi then crashed through a barbed wire fence onto the east frontage road, left the frontage road, tore through a second barbed wire fence and continued south on a ditch bank, according to the accident report. It then collided with a telephone switch box, breaking it free from the ground. It came to a stop on its wheels on the ditch bank.

Armijo said the cab came to rest just over the edge of the ditch bank, just shy of crashing into the water.

“When the semi finally stopped and the driver got out, he fell 15 feet into the water in the ditch below,” Armijo said.

Sweeney remarked the accident scene was over 2,000 feet long. He added the semi was pulling a 53-foot trailer full of powdered milk headed for El Paso, Texas.

Both deputies said it would be highly unlikely anyone could have driven the same route without rolling the semi.

The accident report states the driver sustained minor injuries, and his girlfriend sustained moderate unknown injuries from the crash. Both were transported by Socorro Emergency Medical Services to Socorro General Hospital. The semi was towed to Los Lunas.