Crash that killed Lea County Sheriff under investigation

Lea County Sheriff Steve Ackerman

LEA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – The Lea County Sheriff was killed overnight in a crash.

Sheriff Steve Ackerman was on his way to Santa Fe Tuesday night when his vehicle rolled. It happened east of Encino on Highway 285 at about 7:30 p.m.

The Torrance County Sheriff says that they are still investigating what caused Ackerman to lose control.

Ackerman was the only one in the vehicle. Ackerman has been Sheriff of Lea County, which is near Hobbs, for two and a half years. He, like many sheriffs, was planning to spend the week in Santa Fe for the Legislature.

Ackerman has been with the Sheriff’s Office for about 15 years, working his way up from deputy, then lieutenant and captain. He was elected Sheriff in 2014.

He also worked as an instructor at the State Law Enforcement Academy and was well-known in the law enforcement community.

Tara O’Connor has known Sheriff Ackerman since she was young. Her fiancé is a deputy.

“The whole department is just blind-sided by this, you know. Where do we go from here?” said O’Connor. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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