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Three killed in two separate crashes on I-40

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It was a deadly day on Interstate 40 after a pair of fatal crashes killed three people and seriously injured one person less than six hours apart on Thursday.

The first crash happened Thursday afternoon when two semitrailers – one carrying produce and another carrying scaffolding – collided head-on on Interstate 40 near Route 66 Casino Hotel.

Deputy Felicia Maggard, a spokeswoman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, said one of the trucks “crossed the dirt median into another oncoming” truck shortly before 2 p.m.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

“An adult male and an adult female succumbed to their injuries on scene,” she said. “A second adult male was transported to a local hospital and is in critical condition.”

Maggard did not say which vehicle each of the victims was in.

She also did not say what direction the truck that crossed the median was heading, but photos from the scene suggest it was heading west when it went into the eastbound lanes.

BCSO’s traffic unit and New Mexico State Police are investigating the cause of the collision. Agencies from Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, Tohajiilee and Laguna responded to the scene.

The crash snarled traffic for hours, and I-40 was shut down in both directions between Atrisco Vista Boulevard and the Rio Puerco for much of the afternoon. Westbound lanes opened shortly after 5 p.m.; eastbound lanes were reopened around 6:30 p.m.

Eastbound lanes weren’t open for long as the second crash happened around 7:45 p.m. near Unser and left a semitractor-trailer in flames and the driver dead.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue spokesman Tom Ruiz said the crash involved the semitractor-trailer and at least one other vehicle. No other injuries had been reported.