Albuquerque man dies in train wreck

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Family members described Larry Camacho as a caring individual who was loved by many people.

On Friday night, he was on his way to work as a caregiver when a train hit his vehicle on Mesa Road north of Belen at about 8:15 p.m. The train was traveling on southeast tracks at the time of the crash.

Brent Ruffner-News-Bulletin photo: A mangled Dodge minivan sits on the bed of a tow truck on Mesa Road after it crashed into a train on Friday night. The driver of the van, Larry Camacho, 59, of Albuquerque, died on impact. No one else was injured.

According to New Mexico State Police Sgt. Andy Baldridge, Camacho, 59, was traveling southbound in a Dodge minivan at a high rate of speed and went into the opposite lanes to try and beat the train. The officer said the train struck the vehicle broadside. Camacho died on impact.

“I’ve been doing this 18 years,” said Baldridge, “and this is only my third or fourth one of these.”

Train traffic was halted in both directions for almost two hours while emergency crews trekked down a dirt path to the vehicle, which was located in an isolated area east of the roadway. By 9:45 p.m., trains were allowed to travel on the northwest tracks.

The train’s locomotive stopped four-tenths of a mile on Don Felipe Road, east of where it hit the van. The train stood on the tracks for close to four hours before it was cleared to move.

Baldridge said officials wanted to make sure there wasn’t any crash-related evidence on the south side of the tracks. The north end of Mesa Road was closed in both directions until midnight.

It is unknown exactly how many trains were delayed as a result of the crash. But he said “it was a money issue” for trains that happened to be delayed for an extended period of time.

Camacho’s widow, Evangeline, said her husband was rushing to work that night because he was late.

“He was always a person that was on time,” she said. “He was not ever late to work.”

She said that night, Camacho didn’t feel well and considering calling in sick and he left for work late from their Albuquerque home that night. He was scheduled to be at work at 8 p.m.

She said her husband often spent his free time in his garage where neighbors would stop and talk while he was working.

“People would come visit while he was working,” Evangeline said. “All of our neighbors — he would talk to everybody. He was loved by many people.”

She said she will remember her husband’s passion for fixing air brake compressors and his big heart for helping those in need.

“He will be missed,” she said.


-- Email the author at bruffner@news-bulletin.com.