El Jebel man killed in head-on collision on Highway 82
BASALT – An El Jebel man was killed Tuesday after his car crossed the centerline of Highway 82 at Wingo Junction and plowed into another vehicle.
The victim was identified by the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office as Jose Maximiliano Nachado Andrade, 21. He was originally a resident of El Salvador, a press release from the coroner’s office said, and he was headed to work at an Aspen restaurant at the time of the crash.
He was the sole occupant of a blue 2003 Honda Civic headed east, or upvalley, at about 2:05 p.m., according to the Colorado State Patrol’s accident report. His vehicle struck a white 2004 Volvo XC 70 driving in the right westbound or downvalley lane, the state patrol said. The driver and sole occupant of the Volvo was Susanne Lovell of Aspen, according to the state patrol. She suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital by a Basalt ambulance, authorities said.
Andrade wasn’t breathing and had no pulse when the first responders from the Basalt fire department arrived on the scene, Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson said. “It was very apparent it was a fatality,” he said.
The coroner’s office said Andrade died instantly. An autopsy will determine the exact cause of death.
Neither of the drivers was ejected from their vehicles, and both vehicles came to rest on their wheels. Both drivers were wearing seat belts, the state patrol said.
“Alcohol, drugs and speed are not considered factors in this crash,” said a press release from the state patrol. It was unknown why Andrade crossed the centerline.
The front ends of both cars were demolished by the high-speed impact. The crash could have been worse, according to officials at the scene. At least one other vehicle dodged the Honda after it crossed the centerline.
Andrade’s car came to rest on the north shoulder of the westbound traffic lanes. The Volvo came to rest in the right westbound lane. The accident scene was about 100 yards downvalley from the Rio Grande Trail pedestrian bridge over Highway 82. That is close to mile marker 25 on the highway and about a mile east of Basalt.
The accident was shielded from passing motorists on Highway 82 by strategically placed fire trucks. A red tarp was placed over Andrade’s car while the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office responded to investigate the scene.
Downvalley-bound traffic was reduced to one lane during most of the clean-up and vehicles were backed up for a few miles. All lanes were opened by 4:30 p.m.
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