Driver failed to stop
A driver who failed to stop at a stop sign was to blame for the crash on Highway 82 New Year’s Eve in which he and three other people died, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Michael Hindman, 55, failed to stop his car before pulling out onto Highway 82 from Smith Way, just west of Aspen, authorities have concluded. Hindman and the three other occupants in the car were all killed when the car was broadsided by a vehicle heading downvalley on the highway.
“It was pretty apparent that [Hindman] failed to stop at the stop sign,” said Trooper Bill Barkley of the State Patrol.
Hindman and passengers Jerry Ray, and Steven and Sharon Roth, all of Effingham, Ill., were killed in the wreck. Alcohol played no role in the accident, according to Tom Walsh, Pitkin County deputy coroner.
Richard Connor, the driver of the sport utility vehicle that struck Hindman’s Toyota rental car, sustained minor injuries in the collision.
“I believe [Connor’s car] was estimated to be traveling at 65 miles per hour,” Barkley said. The posted speed limit in that area is 55 mph, he said.
“I don’t believe [Connor] will be cited because the other person ran the stop sign,” the trooper said.
Meanwhile, the State Patrol has yet to assign any blame in the fatal crash that occurred on New Year’s Day at the intersection of Highway 82 and Highway 133 near Carbondale.
Xiomy Long Alvarado, 36, of New Castle, was killed in the accident. She was a passenger in a pickup truck driven by her husband, Martin Alvarado. The Alvarados, heading upvalley in their pickup truck, collided with a Roaring Fork Transit Agency bus driven by Lisa Lauderman. Lauderman was making a left turn from the downvalley lane on Highway 82 onto 133 at the intersection.
“We’re still trying to get witnesses that will help us make a determination,” said Trooper Sean O’Neil. “On intersection-related traffic accidents, it’s very difficult for us to make that determination without witness accounts.”
Any charges stemming from either accident will be up to the district attorney’s office, O’Neil added. “After we file our report, the DA decides what charges will be filed, if any, and against who.”
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.