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Cibola County, New Mexico — November 18, 2011

Police say an admitted heroin user rear-ended a semi on Interstate 40, east of Grants, killing his passenger.

Officers with the Cibola County Sheriff’s Office report that Grants resident Christopher Howell was operating a black, 1998 Oldsmobile sedan westbound along I-40 around 12:25 p.m. Near milepost 87, Mr. Howell struck a westbound semi from behind.

The impact caused the Oldsmobile to spin into oncoming traffic, before coming to rest on the left shoulder. Emergency response personnel arrived to find Mr. Howell and his passenger, Grants resident Robert Reynolds, trapped in the wreckage.

Paramedics airlifted Mr. Howell to a nearby hospital for treatment. Mr. Reynolds died from injuries suffered in the crash, although it is unclear whether he was pronounced dead on scene or hospitalized first.

Mr. Howell told investigators he had used heroin the day before. No information has been released on the injury status of the trucker.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that more than 500,000 semis and large commercial vehicles were involved in traffic crashes in 2010. Those accidents resulted in injuries to more than 100,000 people and more than 5,000 deaths.

If you would like an official copy of the police report, request a copy with this form, or call 1-505-247-9333.

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