New Mexico man charged with manslaughter over fatal car crash

Jan. 24—A 20-year-old New Mexico man faces manslaughter charges after being accused of running a stop sign and colliding with Julie Johnson.

On April 29, 2022, Andrew Nielson was traveling westbound on State Highway 51 in a Ram 3500. Johnson was traveling northbound on State Highway 18.

The intersection of the two highways is a four-way stop. It was under construction at the time but was properly marked with stop signs, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Nielson failed to stop and struck Johnson's Nissan Altima, according to an affidavit. The Nissan rotated as it was thrown off the road and traveled down a concrete culvert on the northwest corner of the intersection.

Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene. Nielson was not injured.

A search warrant was obtained for the Ram, and the airbag control module was imaged. The pre-crash data indicated the truck was traveling 60 mph approximately five seconds before impact.

The speed limit was set at 45 mph, the OHP said.

Nielson was towing a trailer for his employer at the time. A post-collision inspection by a Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement trooper found several violations.

The electric trailer brakes were not functioning, and Nielson did not have a commercial driver's license, according to the inspection.

The OHP's investigation determined "Johnson died as a result of Nielson's reckless disregard for the safety of others."

Second-degree manslaughter is punishable by up to four years in the state penitentiary and a fine of up to $1,000.

Johnson was a single grandmother with three sons and nine grandchildren.