Semi-truck rear ended passenger car before fiery, deadly I-40 crash


New Mexico State Police have released new information about what caused a deadly crash Thursday that lead to major delays on I-40 near Unser. 

Investigators say the massive wreck happened after a semi-truck rear-ended another car. 

State Police say the collision caused the semi-truck to lose control, crashing into a concrete barrier and a light pole on the side of the road. 

The semi truck’s cab then caught fire, killing the driver inside. 

“It was completely burnt down,” said tow truck driver Ronnie Perea. 

Perea owns Mountain State Wrecker Service out of Los Lunas and has been working as a tow operator for nearly 40 years. He says the crash was memorable. 

“I’ve never seen one come apart like this,” said Perea, pointing to the semi’s trailer. 

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen a truck and trailer come apart,” said Perea. 

The crash happened around 7:45 p.m. Thursday on I-40 eastbound, east of the Unser Boulevard exit. 

New Mexico State Police are still investigating the crash. So far, investigators say they aren’t sure why, but they believe the eastbound semi rear-ended a maroon Toyota Prius. 

“The Toyota Prius spun into the median, came to a rest,” said Officer Dusty Francisco, a spokesman for New Mexico State Police. 

State Police say two people were inside the Prius, which spun out of the roadway. 

“The occupants were an older couple, just passing through New Mexico,” said Francisco. 

State Police say that couple wasn’t seriously injured.  

However, the semi-truck driver was pronounced dead at the scene. State Police haven’t released the driver’s identity. 

So far, State Police don’t believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the crash. No one has been charged. 

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