Angel Fire resident's wrongful death lawsuit settled

The family of Bonnie Marie Damron, an Angel Fire woman who was killed in a single vehicle crash in Taos Canyon in 2018, has settled a lawsuit against the New Mexico Department of Transportation and San Bar Construction Corp. for an undisclosed amount of money.

On Sept. 14, 2018, Damron was heading back to Angel Fire from a doctor's appointment in El Rito when her car left the roadway, went down a steep embankment and hit a large boulder off the side of U.S. Highway 64. She was found the next day and pronounced dead on scene. The 36-year-old mother left behind three young children.

Attorney for Damron's estate Kevin Zangara accused the NMDOT and San Bar Construction in the lawsuit of not correctly maintaining the road where Damron's vehicle had crashed. Zangara claimed that the lack of guardrails where Damron left the roadway along with a misapplied double yellow center stripe were the causes for her crash.

According to court records, a defense attorney for NMDOT and San Bar Construction responded that Damron was found to have had a blood alcohol level of 0.358 and police reports indicate her car was traveling at approximately 45 miles per hour when entering the left turn where she went off the road. The speed limit in that stretch of road is 35 miles per hour.

Regardless of these findings by both parties, a settlement was reached this week. In order to avoid a long jury trial - an attorney for San Bar Construction had asked the judge for five full days - the three parties reached an agreement for an out-of-court monetary settlement for Damron's family.

Since Damron's death, several other fatal crashes have taken place along U.S. 64. In November 2018 Taos resident Scott Quintanilla died in a single vehicle rollover near Eagle Nest. This past summer, local snowboarding icon George Medina was also killed when the cement truck he was driving flipped just a mile from where Damron crashed.

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