Driver cited in I-70 crash involving Basalt team
A week after allegedly driving across a median into oncoming traffic on Interstate 70 – and causing a multiple-vehicle accident that involved a school bus carrying the Basalt High girls soccer team – a 71-year-old Florida man was charged with careless driving resulting in injuries.
Eric Wynn, public information officer for the Colorado State Patrol, said James Monk, of Avon, Fla., was issued the citation late last week at St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, where he was being treated after being seriously injured in the May 21 crash.
Basalt soccer coach Chris Woods, who was on the bus that was returning from a state semifinal soccer game in Golden, said a paramedic on the scene told him Monk appeared to have suffered a stroke before the accident.
Wynn could not confirm that since Monk’s family opted not to release his medical records.
“If there was something underlying that may have contributed to the accident, i.e. a heart attack, he wouldn’t have been cited,” Wynn said. “But the investigator has no way of knowing what the medical professionals come up with unless his medical record is released.
“All that information is confidential.”
Monk was traveling eastbound near Genesee when he allegedly drove his car across the grassy median and launched airborne into a pickup driven by Roger Bielz, 39, of Empire, Colo. The impact flipped Bielz’s truck back into the school bus carrying the Basalt team.
No one on the school bus suffered serious injuries, though several girls were treated at the scene for minor cuts from broken glass, Woods said.
Woods said Bielz was pulled from his pickup by other drivers who had stopped to help. Shortly thereafter, his truck “exploded,” Woods added.
Both Monk and Bielz sustained serious injuries and were taken to St. Anthony Central Hospital – Monk by helicopter, Bielz by ambulance.
Wynn said he believed Monk had been released from the hospital over the weekend, but was not aware of Bielz’s status.
The accident closed Interstate 70 for a short time and caused traffic delays for several hours.
Monk must appear in Jefferson County court within 30-45 days after the citation was issued, Wynn said.
Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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