State road workers killed

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks A 39-year-old Roswell man with the Department of Transportation was killed Thursday afternoon while doing road work northwest of St. Vrain.

CNJ staff

A 39-year-old Roswell man with the state Department of Transportation died Thursday northwest of St. Vrain when he was run over by a piece of heavy machinery.

He was one of two workers killed on state roads Thursday.

Steve Vigil was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 12:30 p.m., State Police Capt. Jimmy Glascock said.

The road crew was working on N.M. 224 about nine miles northwest of St. Vrain.

Glascock said Vigil was riding on a chip spreader machine, positioned near the front to monitor gravel disbursement when the machine shifted to a higher gear and lurched forward.

Vigil lost his hold and fell into the path of the machine, Glascock said.

Vigil’s brother-in-law, also working at the site, returned to Roswell Thursday afternoon to notify other family members, Glascock said.

Workers told police the machine had spontaneously shifted into higher gears in the past.

About an hour later, a contractor working as a flagperson, was killed near Prewitt west of Albuquerque.

According to a press release from New Mexico Department of Transportation, she died when struck by a motorist at a bridge on Interstate 40.

A suspect was arrested.

“This is a loss to the NMDOT family and the construction community,” said Transportation Secretary Gary L.J. Giron in a press release.

“We know our workers put their lives on the line each day while working to improve our roadways. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families whose lives will be forever changed by these tragic incidents.”

According to NMDOT, Vigil had been with the department since May 2008.

“I am saddened to learn of these tragic accidents,” Gov. Bill Richardson said in the release.

“On behalf of First Lady Barbara Richardson and myself, I offer our sincere condolences to their family, friends and co-workers.”

Two New Mexico Department of Transportation employees died while working on New Mexico highways in nine years prior to Thursday’s deaths, officials said.