FARMINGTON — A Farmington man died Monday night following a car crash on La Plata Highway near the New Mexico-Colorado border.
Daniel Murray, 30, died after he crashed into a coal transport truck just before 7 p.m., according to New Mexico State Police.
The wreck was the third fatal car crash in San Juan County this year, not including crashes on the Navajo Nation. Shiprock and Crownpoint police supervisors didn't return calls for comment on Tuesday.
All three of this year's fatal crashes were on highways.
Murray was traveling north on N.M. Highway 170, also called La Plata Highway, in a Ford F-150 truck when he drifted into the southbound lane and collided into Reuben Torres, a 37-year-old Cortez man, who was transporting coal for a business, said New Mexico State Police spokesman Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez in an email. The crash was near mile marker 17 on La Plata Highway.
Murray was not wearing a seat belt, and he died at the scene, Gutierrez said. Torres did not have serious injuries.
Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, Gutierrez said.
However, alcohol may have been a factor in one of this year's fatal wrecks.
Police suspect that Shiprock resident LaDell Light was intoxicated on April 4 when he fled from police and ran a red light at the intersection of La Plata Highway and West Main Street. Light, 37, crashed in a High Desert Roofing Truck and did significant damage to both vehicles.
Light was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center, and he died later that night.
The two other people who died in fatal wrecks this year, including Murray, were not wearing seat belts, according to law enforcement.
Farmington resident Claudia Lemus died Feb. 22. At about 10:30 p.m., the 29-year-old was driving north on U.S. Highway 550 and rolled her pickup truck about 35 miles south of Bloomfield, said San Juan County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Beth Utley in a news release. The truck rolled at least twice and came to rest on its roof.
Lemus was not wearing seat belt and was killed in the crash, Utley said. The Office of the Medical Examiner determined her cause of death was positional asphyxia, Utley said.
A 20-year-old passenger in the truck was treated for minor injuries at San Juan Regional Medical Center.
Ryan Boetel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4644. Follow him on Twitter @rboetel.