ALBUQUERQUE – An Aztec family of four and another driver died Friday night in a fiery crash on U.S. Highway 550 about 15 miles south of Cuba.
Jimmie and Melissa Crawford and their children, Grant, 4, and Chace, 2, and the driver of a truck officers say smashed into them were pronounced dead at the scene just after 8 p.m., the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Jimmie Crawford, 45, had recently retired from the Farmington Fire Department, and first responders from throughout the Four Corners, including the Upper Pine River Fire Protection District and Durango Fire & Rescue, were remembering him and his family on social media.
“Along with Jimmie’s career as a firefighter for the Farmington Fire Department, he was a volunteer firefighter for the Durango community as well,” it said on the Durango Fire & Rescue Facebook page Tuesday. “Jimmie started volunteering with the Animas Fire District in 1999 and served along with Durango Fire & Rescue after our merger. He served the Durango area and specifically Station 11 (Bondad) for 13 years as a volunteer. Jimmie, we are so saddened and so honored to have known you and to have served along with you.”
Melissa Crawford, 40, was a stay-at-home mom and had two older sons who were not in the vehicle, according to the Journal.
The Crawfords were heading to Albuquerque for a soccer tournament when a northbound work truck crossed into oncoming traffic and slammed into the SUV head-on, and it burst into flames. The driver of the truck also died, and three passengers were injured, authorities said.
Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Keith Elder said the three truck passengers were taken to a hospital. Elder said “alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.”
A gofundme account has been set up to help the Crawford family with funeral expenses.