Officer on duty at time of fatal accident

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Clovis Police Lt. Roger Grah was doing routine patrol Monday evening when his police vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian, said New Mexico State Police Lt. Gary Ross, whose agency is investigating the fatality.

Delores Jacks, 71, was crossing Mitchell Street around 6:45 p.m. when she was struck, officials said. Jacks was transported to Plains Regional Medical Center where she later died from her injuries.

Ross would not discuss details related to the accident, but said Grah was not responding to a call when the incident occurred.

“His headlights were definitely on,” Ross said, “but not his emergency lights.” Ross said officials have not determined how fast the officer was traveling, but a reconstruction team has been called in to conduct a full investigation.

A woman who answered the phone at Grah’s home on Tuesday said he would not comment.

Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey said state police did not consider speed to be a factor in the accident.
“The state police reported no driver fault in this incident,” Carey said.

But Ross said the investigation is ongoing.
He said there was no indication Grah was impaired when the accident occurred.

“I have no way of knowing how long this investigation will take,” Ross said. “My intention is to issue a press release when the investigation is closed.”

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said Grah is temporarily off duty pending the results of a mandatory drug test. Thomas said it is city policy for all employees to undergo drug testing when they are involved in an accident where injury occurs.

“He has not been suspended,” Thomas said. “This is standard procedure.”

Thomas said he expects results of the drug test to be in by Thursday, and Grah to return to his normal duties.