FARMINGTON — A Farmington man died in a rollover crash on U.S. Highway 550 shortly after 6 a.m. Saturday.
Lionel Barlowe, a 30-year-old Farmington resident who lived on Gooding Lane, was pronounced dead at San Juan Regional Medical Center after he was ejected from his vehicle on the highway. The single-vehicle crash occurred near mile marker 138, which is 12 miles south of Bloomfield. No one else was injured in the crash.
Saturday's rollover marks the fourth fatal car crash on San Juan County roads this year, not including fatal crashes on the Navajo Nation.
Investigators believe alcohol was a factor in the latest crash, said Beth Utley, spokeswoman for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office.
Utley said investigators found bottles of alcohol at the scene of the crash, and preliminary tests taken at the hospital showed Barlowe's blood-alcohol content was .295, which is more than three times the legal limit for operating a vehicle.
Police suspect that two of the four fatal crashes in San Juan County this year involved alcohol.
This year, sheriff's deputies have investigated two fatal crashes, both on U.S. Highway 550.
On Feb. 22, Claudia Lemus, a 29-year-old Farmington woman, was killed in a single-vehicle crash on the highway, about 35 miles south of Bloomfield. Icy roads conditions contributed to the crash, and alcohol was not believed to be a factor, Utley said.
Farmington police and New Mexico State Police have each investigated one fatal crash in San Juan County this year.
Daniel Murray, a 30-year-old Farmington man, died April 22 in a head-on collision just south of the Colorado-New Mexico border on N.M. Highway 170, also called La Plata Highway. Murray struck drifted into the oncoming lane and struck a coal-transport truck being driven by a man from Cortez, Colo., according to New Mexico State Police spokesman Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez. Alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
However, Farmington police suspect that alcohol was involved in an April 4 crash that killed a 37-year-old man. Police believe that Shiprock resident LaDell Light was intoxicated when he fled from police and ran a red light at the intersection of La Plata Highway and West Main Street. Light crashed in a High Desert Roofing Truck and did significant damage to both the truck and his vehicle. He was taken to San Juan Regional Medical Center, and he died later that night.
All of this year's fatal crashes happened on highways.
Utley said it was not clear if Barlow was wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. The drivers in the three previous fatal crashes this year were not wearing seat belts.