Breaking news: Highway 82 accident victim identified
BASALT ” An Aspen worker returning to his home in Willits died after he was struck by a vehicle on Highway 82 Thursday night in the midvalley.
Carlos Urbina, 67, was struck when he tried to cross Highway 82 near the intersection with Original Road, according to Sgt. Stu Curry. It was rainy and extremely dark when the mishap occurred at about 10:45 p.m. Urbina had just exited a bus from Aspen and was returning to his home at the Willits Townhouses in Basalt.
Urbina tried to dash across the road at the bus stop rather than backtrack one-half block and cross at the traffic signal, which has a pedestrian light, Curry said. He apparently didn’t realize two cars were approaching. Urbina’s view of a car in the left lane of the westbound lanes might have been obscured by a vehicle in the right westbound lane, according to Curry.
Urbina was struck by a Toyota Avalon driven by Juan Cruz, 27, of the El Jebel Mobile Home Park. The impact threw Urbina into the windshield of the car, then onto the pavement. He was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and pronounced dead a short time later.
Cruz panicked after the accident, crossed the median, then turned right onto East Valley Road and proceeded downvalley, Curry said. Cruz returned to the scene less than one hour after the accident and confessed to hitting the pedestrian.
“He didn’t know how badly he was injured,” Curry said. “He knew he had to do the right thing.”
Tests showed no presence of drugs or alcohol in Cruz’s blood, according to police. Curry said he thought Cruz was returning home from his job as a cook at an Aspen restaurant.
Cruz was arrested for failure to remain on the scene/giving information and/or aid after an accident resulting death, according to Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda. That is a class four felony.
Curry said there was no evidence that Cruz broke any traffic law. “The only reason he was arrested is he left the scene. You really have to stay and offer aid.”
Urbina is survived by a wife, brother, two nephews and a niece who all live in the area. Urbina worked at the City Market in Aspen and as a maintenance man at the Hotel Jerome.
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Development in Basalt barely skipped a beat in 2020 despite the coronavirus. It’s expected to be busier next year.