Vehicle Clips Medevac Helicopter At Accident Scene


Just about every authority imaginable will likely be involved in the investigation of a collision between a vehicle and a medevac helicopter on a New Mexico highway on Friday morning. The helicopter had landed on Route 60 south of Albuquerque to take a patient injured in a head-on collision between a semi and a pickup to a local hospital. According to KOAT News, first responders closed the road but another vehicle approaching the roadblock apparently had brake problems.

The vehicle, possibly another semi, blew through the roadblock and clipped the rotor of the helicopter. That made the helicopter unairworthy. The patient did make it to an Albuquerque hospital but it’s not clear how he got there. There were no other injuries. The helicopter had to be moved to the side of the road so the route could be reopened.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Wow, talk about bad timing for bad brakes. Or is it an excuse for texting and driving, or fentanyl and driving, or just stupid driving.

          • I’ve made similar comments before. AvWeb’s comment system is garbage. No way to indicate a like or dislike of a comment, and no way to know when new comments are posted. That means I almost never come back to see how the thread is doing. I assume others are like me in that they don’t spend all their spare time coming back to see if there were replies to their or others’ comments.

            Also, the comment count on a story should be shown on the main page next to the article’s title.

            Will anyone think this comment is a good one, or will it get any replies? I’ll never know.

    • I-35 in Oklahoma just had one. Traffic comes to stop, or slow down, and the driver of another Semi just crashed into the vehicle that was behind the first semi….driver and passenger crushed to death in the car when the semi rolled over the top of them. Driver was arrested on several counts but stated “he smoked a bowl full of marijuana” that morning. Two counts of manslaughter have been filed against him.

  2. I work with first response teams. People drive around the barriers, then claim all kinds of excuses as to why they didn’t do it. Unfortunately, some people’s lives are at stake here. We don’t put down barriers and block traffic just to meet people and make friends.

  3. As a police officer, i have been hit in the rear at accident scenes while parked well off the shoulder, with lane blockage, many fuses out, emergency lights flashing, and had someone come right down the shoulder, after driving around the fuses, and rear end my car. Their excuse! I didn’t see you! You can’t fix stupid, but you sure can take them off the road for a while. We in the profession refer to these people as “ rubber neckers!” They also are called other things but we won’t get 8nto that here!

    • Not withstanding the spell check issue, you are spot on correct there George. I am a volunteer FD first responder and I have to say that drivers seem to get a double dose of stupid around accident scenes. As i do a lot of “Fire Police” duty now, directing traffic, controlling pedestrians, etc., here in southern NJ, I am nervous out there all the time. Drivers do not look, they do not tend to follow directions, and they are in such a hurry all the time that we, police and FD folks, are the problem not the solution for them. How dare we impede them! The audacity!

      One thing that I teach the newer folks id that at accidents or fire scenes they absolutely MUST keeps their heads on a swivel. Part of my worry is that other firefighters and even some police ignore that advice. I wear reflective gear and so do most of the folks on the trucks / ambulances but the various police officers do not. Their gear, while not subdued, isn’t reflective, especially during periods of reduced visibility like night, fog, snow, rain, etc. I have had to actually get some of them to move fast to prevent injury by distracted drivers. Please spread the word amongst your coworkers that their vest / badge / weapon won’t protect them from a a multi-thousand pound vehicle operated carelessly. We cannot afford to lose any of you folks so please apply far more situational awareness out there at those various scenes.

      • One thing that is extremely annoying is when a driver gets impatient and aggressively tailgates a car driving slowly near an accident scene. Yes, it’s true, some drivers target fixate and some will slow down to rubberneck, but slowing down because first responders are moving around near the traffic lanes is the smart thing to do. Then you get an idiot whose attention is riveted on the rear bumper of the car ahead and is looking for nothing else.

    • Over the decades, use of the seat belt and remain in your seat light got used more and more to keep passengers safe. When captains started leaving the stay seated light on for the whole flight, people started ignoring it. Some airlines started paying attention to this, but it’s still a bigger problem than before because the sign has lost its effectiveness. It seems manageable though.

      Over the decades, I’ve watched as our local responders quit assigning anyone to direct traffic, then blocked an extra lane, then closed a buffer lane next to the blocking vehicle, then started closing the highway for an LZ, and then seemingly just started closing the highway as SOP.

      At the same time, the population has become less individually responsible and much more self important. I won’t be surprised if next time someone uses their vehicle to push an emergency vehicle out of the way. Or, maybe they will get in the emergency vehicle and move it out of the way.

      Someone’s going to need to get creative or it isn’t getting better. I seriously don’t think we are going to turn around the slide away from personal responsibility and respect for other individuals anytime soon.

  4. News blurb doesn’t say whether this occurred during night or daylight.

    If this was during dark hours, I’d be curious to what extent the flashing lights of the patrol vehicles played in blinding the collision vehicle’s driver. I’d suggest the possibility that, if dark, the helicopter was invisible behind the blinding, flashing, lights and the driver, while stupidly continuing at speed, thought the coast was clear.