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Sharp Ideas

In Brief

December 22, 2010, 1:00 am

After last week’s brutal head-on collision that killed a wrong-way driver and left a Rocky Mountain EMS paramedic in critical condition, law enforcement is examining ways the accident could have been prevented, or how future incidents could be.

Santa Fe County deputies tried to locate driver Kylene Holmes before the crash, starting at approximately 2 am, Dec. 7, when calls started coming in about a 100-mile-per-hour wrong-way driver on Interstate 25. Two deputies headed north in an attempt to intercept her but had to pull out of the way when Holmes refused to yield or stop.

Sheriff Robert Garcia says deputies didn’t use spike strips to try to stop Holmes because Santa Fe Police Department was setting them up at the Cerrillos Road exit. He also says not all deputies have the equipment, which costs $375 per strip.

“I am reluctant to second-guess what happened,” Rocky Mountain EMS founder Greg Walsh says. “[The deputies] had no idea what the offending driver’s speed was; they were operating literally blind, and it’s incredibly dangerous for everybody.”

Garcia has an idea for a way to automatically disable the car of any wrong-way highway driver: Put one-way spikes on the off-ramp of highway exits. 

However, New Mexico Department of Transportation spokeswoman Megan Arredondo says Federal Highway Administration regulations prohibit one-way spikes on interstates.


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