Dexter Fire and Rescue Chief Justin Powell said he was overwhelmed as the Chaves County farming community came together after a teenager died in a traffic crash Friday night south of Roswell.
A car wash organized Sunday by the Dexter High School volleyball team raised nearly $10,000 to help expenses for the families of the teenagers involved in the crash.
“(The car wash was) probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. They get to release some stress. They were raising money for the families involved,” Powell said.
State Police responded to the crash Friday around 6:15 p.m. at the intersection of New Mexico State Road 2 and Darby Road south of Roswell, read a news release.
“I just came through that intersection moments before the crash,” Powell said.
Once he heard about the crash, Powell returned to the scene and went to work.
“There were so many people there along the road at first,” Powell said.
An initial investigation indicated a 2005 Ford Mustang driven by an unnamed 17-year-old traveled west on Darby Road and did not stop at the intersection of State Road 2.
It was struck by a pickup truck driving on the state road, State Police said in the news release.
Justus Sanders, 17, was killed in the crash, Powell said.
He was pronounced dead on scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI), read the release.
State police did not release the identity of the deceased, but Powell confirmed Justus Sanders was killed in the crash.
Police also did not release the name of the 17-year-old driver of the Mustang nor the 56-year-old driver of the pickup. Both were transported to an area hospital for injuries believed to be non-life-threatening, per the release.
Powell said Sanders and the other teenager were honored with a candlelight vigil Sunday night at the Dexter High School football stadium.
“His family (Sanders) was there at the vigil. His dad was there on scene and that made it much more difficult,” he said.
Powell said the farming community of 1,061 residents located 55 miles north of Carlsbad worked together to support grieving families and a town shocked by Friday’s events.
“It’s been a rough weekend for this entire valley. Keep everybody in your thoughts and prayers. We need to help each other and lean on each other,” he said.
State police said alcohol was not an apparent factor in the crash and seatbelts may have not been properly used.
The crash remained under investigation.