Chad Gunter, Brad Gunter Killed in Truck Accident in Torrance County, NM
UPDATE (November 16, 2023): Recent reports now say that two people died as a result of the accident. They were brothers, 47-year-old Chad Gunter and 42-year-old Brad Gunter. Right now, there is still no reported cause for the crash.
Authorities did say they are seeking search warrants for the truck as well as a camera. Below, I discussed my hopes that authorities were taking this crash seriously, and these new details do seem to suggest they are. But I still know how complex a deadly truck wreck like this can be, and I still know that following up with authorities to get as many questions answered as possible is crucial in these situations. Hopefully they continue to bring more information to light about what went wrong here and whether or not someone needs to answer for causing this tragedy.
Torrance County, NM — November 9, 2023, one person was killed and two people were injured due to a semi-truck accident at around noon off I-40 outside of Moriarty.
Preliminary details about the accident say that it took place off I-40 at 100 North Corvin Court. Details at this time say that a semi-trailer going along the interstate somehow ran off-road, and it crashed through a metal building. Two men inside that building were hit in the process.
As a result of the collision, one of the men who was inside the building reportedly suffered fatal injuries. The other person in the building and the driver of the truck were taken to an area hospital. The victims have not been identified, but some reports say the men inside the building hit by the truck were owners of Ribs Hickory Pit BBQ in Cedar Crest. No further information is available at this time.
Obviously finding out what led to the truck running off the roadway should be a priority. I'm sure authorities are working on that as I write this, but I hope someone is following up on their investigations to make sure they're giving it the time and attention it deserves. Too often I've seen folks just wait around for authorities to get answers only to find authorities missed crucial information because officers didn't have access to the tools or resources they needed.
Let me give an example. I handled a case a while back involving a truck driver who suffered a medical emergency, leading to a serious crash. Authorities saw the medical emergency and understandably decided that the crash was simply unavoidable. But instead of verifying additional evidence, the investigating officer stuck with that first assumption and quickly moved on to other responsibilities on his plate. As a result, something crucial nearly flew under the radar. Our investigations fortunately kept that from happening.
From our investigations, we found that the driver who suffered the medical emergency had a very long history of serious medical issues, and they were issues that weren't properly managed. The truck driver's employer knew about these issues, but they didn't bother ensuring that their driver could continue doing their job safely. Essentially, they let a ticking time bomb operate their truck until something inevitably went wrong, and people got hurt. In other words, what authorities were content to call an unavoidable tragedy was actually the result of an employer failing to prevent a completely avoidable accident.
I'm not bringing up this example to suggest that's what led to this crash. Rather, I find people read about crashes like this and assume authorities are going to get to the heart of the matter right away. The department in charge of this situation very well may have the experience and equipment to consider this from all angles and get answers—I've worked with departments all over the country who were shining examples of dedicated professionals.
But I know if I or someone in my family were involved in a serious wreck, I'd be following up with authorities as often as possible to make sure they weren't letting anything important slip through the cracks.