EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A serious crash followed by two more crashes has closed part of Bataan Memorial East in Las Cruces and created a substantial backup of traffic.

Las Cruces police are urging the public to avoid the area.

The initial crash on Bataan Memorial East near Mesa Grande happened at about 4 p.m. Two more crashes were reported on Highway 70 near Mesa Grande. Police say those crashes were likely caused by drivers who were watching police activity and not paying attention.

Bataan Memorial East near Mesa Grande will likely be closed for several hours while  police  investigate the initial  crash.