Accident and extrication on Highway 82 |

Accident and extrication on Highway 82

ASPEN ” Rescue workers had to use the “jaws of life” to extricate a passenger following a three-car accident on Highway 82 near Aspen Friday morning. There were only minor injuries, officials said.

The wreck began with a rear-end collision in the eastbound lanes of Highway 82 near the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport at 9:30 a.m.

“Everybody was moving along … moving along. He stopped a lot sooner than I thought,” said Dave Hoffberger of Carbondale, whose Honda Ridgeline ran into the back of a small Dodge sedan with three passengers.

Witnesses said after Hoffberger’s vehicle hit the Dodge, the smaller car spun around and ran into a Toyota Forerunner.

Both the Honda and the Dodge were in the left lane, the general-traffic lane. Hoffberger was taking his friend, Randy Dube of Aspen, to work when traffic unexpectedly stopped in front of him, which lead to the accident, he said.

“He was airborne,” said Tim Lankins of the Dodge sedan.

Lankins witnessed the accident from just a few car-lengths ahead, and recalled, “I looked up in the rear-view mirror and saw the blue Dodge a foot and a half off the ground sideways. … That was a hard, hard hit.”

Lankins, a former surgical tech and experienced tow-truck driver, called 911 and turned his van around to see if he could help.

“I was about to literally pass out,” Dube said after the accident.

The rear end of the Dodge was caved in by the impact, and while officials said injuries were minor, rescue personnel had to stabilize and extricate one man from the back seat of the Dodge. The man, who has not been identified by authorities, was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital on a backboard and stretcher.

The driver and other passenger of the Dodge suffered only minor injuries.

Colorado State Patrol is investigating the accident.

Charles Agar’s e-mail address is

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