Body found at scene of crash five days after accident

On behalf of Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C. posted in Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A man reported missing after a fatal crash near Los Lunas, New Mexico, has been found dead less than half a mile from the scene of the accident. Authorities reportedly combed the area after arriving at the scene on Sept. 30 around 10:30 p.m. but did not find his body. His girlfriend filed a missing person's report the next day, not knowing that the car crash he was involved in had become a fatal accident.

As this blog previously reported, the driver's girlfriend said that she had known the man for approximately 10 months. Earlier during the night of the crash, the two were at the Western Skies Inn in Los Lunas when he said that he was going to leave and come right back. He did not return so she called police and a connection was made between him and the discovery of his vehicle. His girlfriend said that he probably thought he was in trouble so he tried to leave the scene. The man had been staying at the hotel because he was from another state and was living in New Mexico for work.

When police found the man's vehicle, it had apparently collided with a power pole near the intersection of Vista Solano Drive and State Route 47. Police could not find the man, and a search for his body was not thorough enough to discover it. Five days later, the man's cousin and his girlfriend found the body.

His girlfriend is upset that the Los Lunas Police Department and Valencia County sheriff's office could not find him. Though the authorities have said that there was not enough evidence to extend the search out of the perimeter of the crash scene, the girlfriend still holds that law enforcement should have done more. According to reports, there was no blood at the scene. A toxicology report will be conducted on the body, and the cause of death will be determined sometime in the future.

Is the woman right? Could law enforcement have done more in the immediate aftermath to find the man? Could his life have been saved?

Source: ABQ Journal, "Man Found Days After Fatal Crash," Brent Ruffner, Oct. 16, 2012