DOT worker, 58, killed in work zone crash - Albuquerque Journal

DOT worker, 58, killed in work zone crash

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A New Mexico Department of Transportation employee was killed Monday morning while she and DOT crews replaced reflectors on a newly resurfaced stretch of U.S. 285 north of Artesia.

Mittie Runyan, 58, died after her DOT pickup, with emergency lights flashing, was struck from behind by a Peterbilt commercial motor vehicle pulling a tanker trailer. According to State Police reports, Runyan’s pickup was in the right lane of southbound U.S. 285 near milepost 82 when the commercial truck rear-ended her, pushing her vehicle into a second DOT pickup.

Two DOT employees who were working out of the back of the second pickup were able to jump into the bed of the truck as the accident occurred. They sustained injuries and were transported to area hospitals. Their conditions were not known. The driver of that pickup was uninjured.

Runyan, of Artesia, suffered severe injuries and was airlifted from the scene to a hospital in Lubbock, where she was later pronounced dead. The 45-year-old driver of the commercial truck was uninjured and will not be named unless charges are filed, State Police said.

Runyan had worked for DOT for more than 21 years.

“This painful loss will reverberate statewide,” state Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval said. “We are a close-knit group and we all grieve when we lose one of our own. Our deepest condolences go out to Mittie’s family.”

State Police Chief Tim Johnson said in a statement that he is saddened by the tragedy. His officers, he said, have a close working relationship with NMDOT crews, who “place their lives on the line every day while working to keep the roads in New Mexico a safe place” for all travelers.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham also offered her condolences to Runyan’s family. In a Tuesday evening Twitter posting, she said, “My prayers are with the family of beloved @NMDOT employee Mittie Runyan, who was tragically killed in a roadway accident in Chaves County yesterday. My thoughts are also with the two NMDOT employees who were injured, and I wish them a speedy recovery.”

Under New Mexico’s Move Over Law, drivers approaching emergency vehicles that have flashing lights must change lanes or slow down to allow a safety margin of separation between them, and vehicles and crews working on the roadway. The law also applies to disabled motorists who have activated their vehicle’s emergency flashers.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Two-vehicle crash in Northeast Albuquerque leaves 1 seriously injured
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque Police Department officers were dispatched ... Albuquerque Police Department officers were dispatched to a two-vehicle crash that left one person in critical condition late Saturday, according to a news release. ...
2
Shooting in Southwest Albuquerque leaves 1 in critical condition
ABQnews Seeker
Albuquerque police say one person is ... Albuquerque police say one person is in the hospital in critical condition after a shooting near Central and Coors early Sunday morning. Albuquerque Police ...
3
College athlete deals risk tax-free scholarships
ABQnews Seeker
The college football bowl season is ... The college football bowl season is over.
4
Emptying the Notebook: Lobo Allen-Tovar steps up at Wyoming
ABQnews Seeker
Some extra notes, stats, quotes and ... Some extra notes, stats, quotes and whatever else I could to empty out of the old notebook after UNM's close loss at Wyoming
5
Finding redemption in prison
ABQnews Seeker
Los Lunas inmates provide compassion, hope ... Los Lunas inmates provide compassion, hope to peers
6
Investigation into officer's death a 'slap in the face,' ...
ABQnews Seeker
NMSP officer gunned down by federally-wanted ... NMSP officer gunned down by federally-wanted suspect during traffic stop on Feb. 4
7
'Honest' Martínez rises in ranks to House leadership
ABQnews Seeker
Lawmaker backs diverse legislation on education, ... Lawmaker backs diverse legislation on education, cannabis and tax rates
8
New approach to teaching race in school divides NM
ABQnews Seeker
Students would learn about social identity ... Students would learn about social identity under new plan
9
Lawsuit says Belen firefighter fired for reporting COVID-19 case
ABQnews Seeker
Man believes he was terminated for ... Man believes he was terminated for notifying human resources of sick co-worker