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Fatal 43 vehicle pileup on I-40 in New Mexico blamed on bad weather, ‘driver inattention’

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New Mexico State Police (NMSP) have provided new details on a fatal 43 vehicle pileup on I-40 that occurred during winter weather conditions earlier this week.

According to an NMSP report released on Thursday, the pileup occurred on I-40 around mile marker 291, east of Santa Rosa, just before 10 a.m. on January 8, 2024.

“The initial investigation indicated that a semi-tractor trailer driven by a 21-year-old from Indianapolis, IN, was traveling west on Interstate 40 when, for reasons still under investigation, it rear-ended a passenger van driven by David James McGarrah, 71, of Neosho, MO, and occupied by his 70-year-old passenger,” NMSP said.

Following this initial crash, a chain-reaction pileup occurred ultimately involving a total of 43 vehicles. Video and images captured at the scene show that many of the vehicles involved were CMVs.

McGarrah and a passenger were transported to a hospital for treatment, but McGarrah did not survive.

Troopers say that the severity of the injuries to the passenger is unclear.

The 21 year old truck driver involved in the initial crash was not injured.

Multiple other injuries were reported.

“Inclement weather and driver inattention are believed to have contributed to the crash,” NMSP said.

This crash remains under investigation.

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