Man Succumbs To Injuries In Freak Accident At White Rock Gas Station

Ronald B. Swartz, 56, of Las Vegas, N.M. died Wednesday from injuries received when a flying rock struck him in the head Feb. 5 at a White Rock gas station. Courtesy photo




Los Alamos Daily Post


A  56-year-old Las Vegas, N.M. man has succumbed to injuries sustained when he was struck in the head by a rock Feb. 5 at a White Rock gas station.

Ronald B. Swartz passed away Wednesday, according to family members.

Los Alamos Police Cmdr. Preston Ballew reported Tuesday that the man was standing by his vehicle at the Phillips 66 Gas Station at N.M. 4 and Rover Boulevard when a rock was randomly launched by a New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) grass mower at the Giant Gas Station on the other side of the road. The rock flew a distance of 480 feet and struck Swartz in the head.

The Los Alamos Fire Department Station 3 and LAPD responded to the scene and Swartz was transported to the Los Alamos Medical Center helipad and airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

NMDOT officials said Tuesday they are looking into what caused the accident. LAPD Cmdr. Oliver Morris said Sunday that the incident was turned over to the LAPD Investigations Division, which is working with officials from the Bureau of Indian Affairs because of the potential that the rock originated on tribal land.

Swartz is survived by his wife Patricia and his son Ronnie J. Swartz; his father Ronald D. Swartz Sr. and his wife Susan; his sisters Glenda and her husband Carl; Sandy; his brothers Don, Gerald, Jerry and Ron Jr. and their respective partners. Family members say he had a passion for his horses and the outdoors and was a member of the National Roping Association.

“He was a generous man with his time and talents and was always there to help,” a family member said.

A rosary and funeral Mass are scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 16 at Cristo Rey Catholic Church in Santa Fe.