Updated July 10 at 2 p.m.
A male driver and his girlfriend who yielded to a Taos County Sheriff’s deputy driving to a domestic violence call north of Taos Thursday night (July 9) were rear ended by a second deputy they didn’t realize was following behind the first when they attempted to pull back into the left-hand turn lane at the intersection of Paseo del Pueblo Sur and Siler Road.
By around 8:30 p.m., two blocks of Paseo had been cordoned off north from the street’s intersection with Siler Road by first responders from the Taos County Sheriff’s Office and Taos Police Department. Officers were taking photographs of the couple’s toppled vehicle and the white sheriff’s truck, which had skidded to halt outside the shuttered Indian Hills Inn. Its front left tire was missing and its windshield was smashed.
Taos County Undersheriff Steve Miera said neither the couple nor the officer who was driving the truck were injured in the crash, which he said would be handled internally.
“[The Taos County Sheriff’s Office] is going to be the handling agency,” Miera said. “We will supplement our initial crash investigation through Santa Fe PD, who will do a reconstruction on it to keep that transparency factor in.”
In the past, crash investigations involving the Taos County Sheriff’s Office have sometimes been handled by New Mexico State Police, such as in August 2017, when a deputy responding to a call on a motorcycle crashed into a vehicle while driving down the center median of Paseo del Pueblo Sur outside Walmart in Taos.
Miera said all dash cam video and other material related to Thursday night’s crash would be released to the public after the investigation is completed. He said the internal investigation was an opportunity for the sheriff’s office to display a high level of integrity and transparency.
Cynthia Trujillo, the passenger in the truck that was rear ended, said she and her boyfriend were in the center lane attempting to turn left when the first deputy came driving up behind them with lights flashing.
The traffic light was green, the couple said, but they adjusted into the northbound lane to yield to the first sheriff’s truck, which they said was going so fast and kicking up so much dust that they didn’t realize there was a second following behind when they attempted to move back into the turn lane.
“They were flying down the median and we saw them and we pulled off to the corner because we were already so far in the intersection that we couldn’t go on the other side, so we had to pull right here,” Trujillo said. “He flew by and we pulled back in to get back on the road and another one came flying by and hit us from the back and flipped our car.”
Miera said the deputies were responding to a serious call Thursday night with their lights and sirens on.
“The deputies were responding to a violent physical domestic on the north side of town,” he said. “One of the individuals is known to have weapons and has made threats toward law enforcement prior to.”