LAS CRUCES -- A popular college instructor is fighting for her life in an El Paso hospital after being hit by a car as she attempted to cross a street last week on the New Mexico State University campus.

Lucy Montes-Sandoval, 53, suffered "severe head injuries" and has a collapsed lung, her husband Julio Sandoval said on Monday afternoon. Montes-Sandoval, an instructor in Doña Ana Community College's nursing program, remains in critical condition at University Medical Center in El Paso. Her husband added that she is on life support.

"We're just asking people to pray," Sandoval said.

Thursday morning, the first day of college classes, Montes-Sandoval entered a crosswalk on Stewart Street. According to campus police, an NMSU student-employee turned east from Knox Street onto Stewart Street, hitting Montes-Sandoval.

A two-way stop sign controls the intersection of Knox and Stewart streets. NMSU police chief Stephen Lopez said his department's investigation showed the driver had stopped, as required. He described it as a "low-speed" collision.

The report was not available because administrative and support staff were off Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The driver, who remains unidentified, could face a traffic citation or more serious charges for her involvement. Lopez said that could depend on the recovery of Montes-Sandoval.

Thursday's crash is the latest blow to the DACC nursing program, which is trying to rebuild after losing national accreditation last summer.


DACC spokeswoman Jaylene McIntosh said that counselors have been made available for students and teachers affected by the crash.

James Staley may be reached at 575-541-5476 or