Conejos teacher dies in Center semi crash

CENTER — A Conejos County teacher and Center resident traveling east on Highway 112 died Monday evening when a semi truck and trailer reportedly failed to yield to traffic and T-boned his Dodge Dart, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) reported Tuesday.
Gerald Archuleta, 32, was pronounced dead after transport to Rio Grande Hospital. He also taught for several years at Center Schools. His wife Stephanie (Burch) Archuleta, 32, of Center, who was driving the vehicle, suffered moderate injuries in the accident.
Investigation at the scene revealed a 2015 Kenworth semi-truck with loaded trailer was southbound on Saguache County Road 53. The Kenworth failed to yield right of way at the stop sign at the intersection of County Road 53 and Colorado Highway 112.
The Archuleta vehicle was westbound on Colorado Highway 112. According to the CSP report, the front of the Kenworth collided with the right side of the Dodge. The Kenworth then collided with a utility pole and rolled one-fourth times onto its left side coming to rest facing south. The Dodge rotated 180 degrees, traveled off the south side of the road, and came to rest on its wheels facing east in a ditch.
The driver of the Kenworth was identified as Barker Gwyn Jackson, 61, of Warrensville, N.C. He was transported to San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center with moderate injuries.
Alcohol is not believed to be a contributing factor in the crash. Seatbelts were in use by all involved. Speed is not believed to be a factor. The crash remains under investigation.
South Conejos School District Superintendent Carla Archuleta posted this to Facebook following Archuleta’s reported death: “This message goes out with a heavy heart to SCSD Staff, students and community. Last night Gerald Archuleta, sixth grade teacher, died in a car accident. Please pray for Gerald’s wife, expected baby, family and friends. And live your life at it’s fullest — sharing your love with one another.”


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