ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Deputies were caught on video swerving through traffic on I-25, leading to a crash, before heading on their way to a holiday charity event. Now, the drivers involved in the crash are ticked off.
In the video posted to Facebook, it shows three Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Deputy units zooming past traffic going north on I-25. They were part of an escort group for the Cops for Kids holiday event this last Saturday. All units have their lights flashing as they quickly cut from the fast lane to the far right lanes, to get to the Montano exit at the last second.
However, during the quick exit, there’s a rear-end crash as drivers hit the brakes. The deputy in the pickup truck who cut in front of him, just keeps driving.
The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department refused to talk about this story, but County Commissioner Wayne Johnson says those deputies had the right of way and did nothing wrong.
“You have to follow at a safe distance, but that emergency vehicle has all the right of way in the world going through there,” he said. “The deputies were unaware of any accident taking place behind them. Unfortunately, and this is going to look bad, their assignment is to stay with that escort,” he continued.
KRQE News 13 showed the video to drivers, and some of them, had a much different take.
“It seems very unsafe for those vehicles to cut over in such a short amount of time,” said Debra Baker.
“I’m not sure what I would’ve done because I would’ve been very confused. Usually once the cop lights are on, they’re all the way to the right,” said Mary Gardner.
But Commissioner Johnson says it’s simple, drivers need to yield immediately once they see those emergency lights flashing.
“When the deputy came across coming from that far left lane, heading towards Montano, there shouldn’t have been another vehicle…non-emergency vehicle in that slot,” he said.
Both drivers in the crash say they believe the deputies were at fault because of their quick lane changes. One of the drivers says he might press charges against BCSO. One of the cars suffered pretty major damage, but no one was hurt.