Driver gets two tickets in hair-raising car crash

Staff report
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BASALT – An Aspen man received two tickets for an April 16 accident on Highway 82, where he swerved across four lanes of traffic but “miraculously” didn’t slam into another vehicle, according to a trooper with the Colorado State Patrol.

Nathan O. Hanson, 43, of Aspen, was ticketed for careless driving and driving while license suspended, according to Trooper Graham Thorne.

Around 4 p.m. on April 16, the van Hanson was driving swerved left out of the right-hand westbound lane and crossed the left lane of westbound traffic, the center turn lane and both eastbound lanes, according to a witness and authorities. The van, owned by Aspen Skiing Co., hit a sign, trees and a stump on the south side of the road. The vehicle went airborne for 38 feet after it hit a residential driveway, Thorne said, and then it struck a power pole and came to rest. The accident occurred near the intersection of Highway 82 and the east end of Two Rivers Road. That is about a mile east of downtown Basalt.

Hanson suffered only minor injuries. He was treated at the scene and released. He was the lone occupant of the van.

Hanson told the trooper that some paperwork and other materials had fallen off the passenger’s seat onto the floor, so he reached over to pick them up. Thorne said it is likely that Hanson pulled to the left with his left hand on the steering wheel while he was reaching down to his right to retrieve the materials. Hanson also told authorities he didn’t want to slam on the brakes once he was off the road because he was concerned that he would lose control of the vehicle on the dirt shoulder.

Hanson was wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident, according to Thorne. He likely would have been thrown out of the vehicle during the crash if not restrained, the trooper said. Hanson crawled out the back of the van after the crash.

Thorne said the accident is a good remainder for motorists to wait until they can pull over to a safe position before trying to retrieve items that fall to the floor of a moving