Large boulders on N.M. 314 causing damage

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Two local teens have damaged their cars on large rocks in the middle of N.M. 314 in front of Los Chavez Fire Station in the past month.

Both drivers had to have their cars towed home, but they are not the only ones.

Deborah Fox-News-Bulletin photo: Kayla Gonzales, left, and her boyfriend, Nathaniel Lopez, right, both damaged their cars on boulders on N.M. 314 near the Los Chavez Fire Station.

“There’s been five reported incidents with boulders being in the roadway,” said Valencia County Sheriff’s Capt. Gary Hall. “Because of this, we’ve been patrolling the area heavier.”

Los Lunas resident, Nathaniel Lopez, 19, and his girlfriend, Kayla Gonzales, 18, often travel N.M. 314 to visit each other.

On one occasion, after Lopez dropped Gonzales off at her home around 1:15 a.m., he was heading back to Los Lunas when he hit a large, dark-colored rock. It tore off the oil pan of his Honda Civic and damaged the engine.

“I thought it was a dead animal or something,” Lopez said. “There was a car on my right, so I couldn’t change lanes.”

A driver of a truck traveling behind Lopez pulled around to see if Lopez was all right. The truck hit the rock, too, but cleared it, Lopez said.

The highway is dark and the boulder comes as a surprise, the teens said.

“That’s the thing, you’re going fast and there’s no streetlights,” Gonzales said.

She hit one of the boulders three nights later. It ruined the transmission pan and bent the tie rods on her Chevy Aveo.

The force of impact was so great her airbag deployed, which will cost about $1,500 to replace, she said.

Her father, Daniel Gonzales, estimated the repairs might cost up to $4,000. She has full insurance coverage, but Lopez only has liability, he said.

The teens said they believe that the boulders on the road are deliberately placed there because it is happening at night in the same location near Bombero Circle.

Lopez said he heard laughter from one of the nearby houses as he surveyed the damage to his car, but Hall suspects it might be trucks hauling unsecured rocks.

“I’m thinking somebody is hauling debris and stuff is falling out,” said Hall. “Maybe something in the road is causing it to lose part of their load.”

Gonzales posted warnings on Facebook about the boulders on N.M. 314.

“I just wanted to warn them, so nobody else wrecks their car like we did,” she said.

If anyone has information, call the Valencia County Sheriff’s Department at 866-2400.


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