On Tuesday, state Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Bernalillo, Sandoval & Santa Fe) spoke out about embattled Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Department of Transportation (NMDOT) injuring and killing motorcyclists with the use of a “fog seal” placed on the road June 7. The use of the fog sealant started two years ago under Lujan Grisham.
Since its installation, multiple bikers have been either injured or killed because of the sealant.
25-year-old Jessie “Jay” Baldonado was killed on the road, says friend Zantaysah Deleon. “He drove around a corner, and all of a sudden, he wasn’t in front of them no more,” Deleone said. “They turned around, and he was off the side of the mountain.”
Jessica Taylor, who is a local rider, described herself as a “walking bruise” with 17 stitches after crashing her bike on the same road earlier this month. She said she has been riding for a decade and wasn’t speeding. “I think it was the road for sure. … I don’t think that crash should have ever happened because I wasn’t doing anything wrong,” Taylor added.
Rep. Lord said, “I want a full investigation to make sure they looked to see if it was the road conditions and that sealant that caused that accident.” she continued, “I don’t want them to blow it off and say ‘oh, that was speeding or negligent.’ I want them to look into it.”
According to KRQE, the Department of Transportation claims “they inspected the road and determined there was no residual oil on the roadway and do not plan to place any signs.” the NMDOT also told the news outlet, “that Albuquerque Police Department uses that road to train their motorcycle unit and has trained since the fog seal was placed without any problems”
However, a video posted by Rep. Lord paints a different picture, which appears to show the sticky sealant coming off with the touch of a finger. “Does this look safe?” she asked. According to Lord, there are at least five victims now.
The state of Maine banned the use of fog sealants in 2019.