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Two fatal crashes over weekend in Lea County

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New Mexico State Police are investigating two fatal crashes that occurred on Friday and Saturday in Lea County.

On Saturday around 3 p.m., Russell Shaw, 47, of Pecos, Texas, died after his 2017 Ford F-350 rear-ended a semi-truck on State Road 128 between Loving and Jal. Shaw was pronounced dead at an Odessa, Texas, hospital. The driver of the 2012 Kenworth semi-truck was uninjured.

The initial investigation indicated the semi-truck was making a left hand turn onto a lease road from the eastbound lane of S.R. 128. Shaw was traveling east on S.R. 128 And, for unknown reasons, failed to slow down and crashed into the larger truck.

Alcohol did not appear to be a factor and seatbelts were in use. No additional information was available.

On Friday around 6 a.m., NMSP responded to a fatal crash on State Road 18 south of Jal that claimed the life of Ashley D. Easter, a 28-year-old Eunice woman.

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The initial investigation indicated a 2004 Harley Davidson motorcycle was stopped next to a 2003 Chevy utility truck on the east side of State Road 18.

A 2015 Peterbilt semi-truck was traveling north on S.R. 18. As the semi-truck approached the stopped vehicles, the motorcycle pulled into the lane of travel and struck the semi-truck. Easter, who was driving the motorcycle, sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Her passenger was airlifted to a Texas hospital with unknown injuries.

Through further investigation, NMSP determined the 2003 Chevy truck that the motorcycle was parked next to was stolen out of Monahans, Texas. Charges are pending for the passenger of the motorcycle for receiving or transferring a stolen motor vehicle.

The passenger will not be identified unless charges are officially filed. The driver of the semi-truck was not charged and the driver’s identity will not be released by NMSP.