Portales officer, motorist injured in accident

Freedom Newspapers

A Portales police officer and a motorist were injured Wednesday in an accident that occurred as the officer was arriving to direct traffic at a railroad crossing near the intersection of U.S. 70 and N.M. 467, according to state police.

State Police officer Ramon Borjas said a Dodge Dakota pickup turning onto N.M. 467 struck the right front panel of a police car as the officer was getting out to direct traffic.

State police declined to release the name of the driver of the Dakota but said that the driver and Portales Police officer James Acree were transported by ambulance. Both were treated for minor injuries and released, according to state police.

According to Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry, the railroad crossing arms were malfunctioning and staying down, causing traffic to back up for a mile on N.M. 467. City police officers were dispatched to control the traffic and relieve congestion.

Berry said Acree had pulled up to the crossing and parked his vehicle with its emergency lights on when it was struck as he was getting out.
According to state police, the driver of the Dakota was cited for failure to yield.

Phone calls to Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway, seeking comment on the crossing problem, were not returned by press time.