A family relocating from California to North Texas escaped with their lives after a rollover on a main highway through New Mexico, but they say passers-by stole thousands of dollars' worth of their possessions after authorities failed to secure the crash site.
Keith and Amanda Tucker and their three young children were in a truck towing a trailer of possessions from Sonora, Calif., to Rosser, Texas, when the accident occurred Saturday on Interstate 40 near Albuquerque.
A tire on the relative's truck that Amanda Tucker was driving blew out, causing her to lose control of the vehicle, the Albuquerque Journal reported. The truck went off the highway, rolled twice and came to rest upright near their heavily damaged trailer, according to a Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office accident report.
The family members went to a hospital for treatment of various injuries.
"When we were getting ready to leave in the ambulance, Keith asked whether someone should stay behind to pick up our stuff, but the deputy said they'd take care (of) it," Amanda Tucker said.
Many items were retrieved by deputies and a passer-by who took the items to the sheriff's office, but the family says other belongings worth up to $15,000 have disappeared after apparently being left at the site. Items missing include toys, Christmas ornaments, a safe, ammunition and a knife collection.
The Tuckers said the crash scene apparently was unguarded from sunup Saturday until midmorning Sunday, when Keith Tucker's mother arrived from Texas and drove out to see what might be left of the family's belongings.
"There's nothing they can do now to make this better," Amanda Tucker said Monday in the family's cluttered hotel room. "They should have had someone there."
Sheriff's spokesman Aaron Williamson said he could not comment on the incident because an internal investigation was under way.
Keith Tucker suffered a dislocated shoulder and hip in the crash, while the couple's 6-year-old son had a broken arm, the newspaper reported. Amanda Tucker and their two daughters had minor cuts and bruises.