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  Public Safety

Placitas woman hit by deputy’s truck dies

~Bill Diven

New Mexico State Police are investigating the death of a Placitas woman run over by a Sandoval County sheriff's deputy in late September.

Linda Baragiola, 68, suffered critical injuries on September 28 and died later at UNM Hospital. She was the widow of Edwin Baragiola, a former New York City Police Department Harbor Unit officer, who died in 2012.

The couple met after Edwin retired from the NYPD and moved to New Mexico. They married in about 1988, according to his obituary.

According to news accounts and a State Police news release, deputies were responding to a burglar alarm at a neighbor's home on Trails West Road. Baragiola and another neighbor also had checked on the house and were there when the deputies arrived.

Baragiola then left the home but was standing behind one deputy's pickup truck when it was dispatched to another call. He apparently did not see Baragiola, and putting his truck in reverse backed over her.

She may have been talking on a cell phone at the time, a witness told State Police. At last report, the incident was still under investigation.

Bataan Death March

Placitas History Project presents “New Mexico heroes of the Bataan Death March”

~Judy Gajkowski

The Bataan Death March—one of the most brutal events of World War II in the Pacific Theater—has been written about extensively but few know that New Mexico has a direct link to that event.

In 1941, the New Mexico National Guard 200th Coast Artillery called 1,800 soldiers from that unit to active duty. These young men eventually found themselves serving in the Phillipines defending Manila, then retreating to the Bataan Peninsula. They were among the 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos who were forced to surrender to the Japanese on April 9, 1942. An estimated six hundred Americans and thousands of Filipino soldiers died as the prisoners were marched 65 miles north to a prisoner of war camp.  Later many were moved to other camps where they experienced insufficient food, disease, and harsh prison conditions. Survivors eventually were loaded onto Japanese vessels known as “hell ships” and transferred to POW camps in Japan. There they were treated as slaves and forced to work in mines.

Evangelista Ramirez Garcia, (known as “Evans”) was born in Doña Ana, NM, and served as a member of the New Mexico National Guard 200th Coast Artillery. Evans was one of the New Mexico heroes who survived the March and years of torture in prison camps, managing not only to survive, but through his ingenuity and strength, able to keep up the spirits of other POW’s. His story is told in the book, Tell Me Another War Story written by his daughter, Margaret Garcia.

On November 4, at 2:00 p.m., at the Placitas Community Library, Margaret will share her father’s story—his mischievous streak while growing up in the Mesilla Valley, his early military exploits, and the strength he used to survive the extreme punishments of the Bataan March and the prison camps that followed.

The stories of Evans and the other New Mexico heroes are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but always amazing and inspiring.

Veterans Day Parade organizers call for participants

Those seeking to participate in the City of Rio Rancho’s Veterans Day Parade can register now via the City’s website:

The Veterans Day Parade will take place on November 11. The parade lineup location will be Country Club Drive beginning at 9:00 a.m. The parade will kick off at 10:00 a.m. and travel east down Southern Boulevard, ending at the Veterans Monument Park. Immediately following the parade, at approximately 11:00 a.m., there will be a ceremony honoring our Veterans, held at Veterans Memorial Park.

The fee to take part in the parade is $15 per entry/float. Registration and payment can be completed using the City’s website or in-person at the Parks, Recreation, and Community Services Department offices at Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle. There is no registration fee for veterans or military groups, and they can register by calling 891-5015. The deadline to register is November 6.

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