Fleeing driver, passenger killed in Highway 550 crash

Bernalillo deadly crash (KRQE News 13)
Bernalillo deadly crash (KRQE News 13)

BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police said a speeding driver killed herself, her passenger and injured another driver in a head-on crash on Highway 550 Thursday night.

Barbara Arriola, 30, of Albuquerque was driving the car that caused the crash near milepost 21, near San Ysidro. A passenger in Arriola’s car, 33-year-old Anna Kauska of Albuquerque, also died in the crash.

Another man was critically injured in the crash. Jack Mills, 68, from Farmington was air-lifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital and is in critical condition.

NMSP said the crash happened about 15-minutes after another police agency first tried to pull Arriola’s car over. State Police said Santa Ana Pueblo Police tried to pull over Arriola, who was driving a maroon Chevrolet Impala north on Highway 550 with no lights on. When officers turned on their emergency lights, officers saw the car speed up and weave in and out of traffic.

After a few miles, State Police said Santa Ana officers discontinued the pursuit, and Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputies took over. While a Sandoval County Sheriff’s deputy was pursing Arriola, the deputy witnessed her car lose control and crash head-on into Mills’ car.

At the crash scene Friday, KRQE News 13 found several pieces of wreckage left behind including random car parts, personal items, and bloody clothes.

A Former APD sergeant, Carol Oleksak lives near the crash area. She saw the aftermath of the crash scene late Thursday night. While Oleksak said she’s saw a lot of violent crashes in her career as a police officer, she said this one was clearly one of the most violent ones she seen on the road.

“I think a lot of it is just speed, people just come out here, they figure there’s just nothing out here, they can speed real fast and then they’re out of control, lose control, and that’s kind of the end of it,” said Oleksak.

State Police said they’re still trying to figure out if alcohol was a factor in the crash.

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