Driver describes fatal wreck
December 29, 2005
The driver of a pickup truck involved in Wednesday’s fatal car wreck on Highway 82 said the incident was “a nightmare, a nightmare that started right then.”Blake Williams, 31, who was driving his 2000 Toyota Tundra toward Aspen with his wife, Mary, said his memories of the accident are not entirely clear.But, he recalled, he had been driving in the right-hand lane as he approached a red traffic light at the Brush Creek Road intersection.The light turned green, he said, prompting him to move over to the left lane to get around a line of slower-moving cars turning right onto Brush Creek Road.
A truck was stopped in the eastbound left-turn lane, which interfered with Williams’ ability to see what was going on in the westbound turn lanes on the other side of the traffic light, he said.”A ghost moved in front of me,” Williams said, describing how he felt when he saw a four-door, 2006 Ford Taurus sedan turn in front of him as he moved into the intersection.He hit his brakes but could not stop.”I hit the car right between the front and the back wheels, probably the worst place I could have hit,” he said.The impact sent the sedan spinning into Brush Creek Road, ultimately coming to a stop across two lanes.
Williams’ truck, meanwhile, kept traveling east along the highway for about 44 feet, according to a Colorado State Patrol report, before stopping in the roadway.Williams recalls that he and his wife, who are from Snowmass, were both wearing seat belts, and both airbags deployed on impact. When they got out of their truck, he said, they were a little battered and bruised but essentially OK.Approaching the Taurus, he said, he could see the driver, Steve Felt, and the front-seat passenger, Elizabeth Birt, leaning toward each other, apparently unconscious. In the back seat, he said, was 13-year old Michael Felt, who looked “pretty bloody.”Williams said a number of cars stopped and the occupants ran to help, some going to the driver’s door to attend to Felt, some to the front passenger door, and some climbing over the back of the Taurus to reach the younger Felt, who Williams believes was conscious at that time.He also said a doctor appeared and was able to resuscitate Birt, who reportedly stopped breathing at some point before ambulances arrived.
Birt later died on an operating table at Aspen Valley Hospital.”I didn’t really know what had happened,” Williams said. He said he was told he had a green light and the Taurus had run through a red light.Williams said he and his wife are shaken by the experience and relying on the support of family and friends to recover from the ordeal.”I just wish I hadn’t been there,” he said Thursday. “I wish I hadn’t stopped for gas that morning. Then I would have been 15 minutes ahead.”John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org