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Flying metal kills driver

Jeremy Heiman

A Paonia man was killed Friday afternoon on Highway 82 when a piece of metal fell out of the back of a truck and smashed through the front window of his car.

According to a release issued by the Colorado State Patrol, Robert Paul Hayutin, 34, was driving east on Highway 82 near Old Snowmass when the metal smashed through his windshield and struck him in the lower left part of his neck.

The metal object was approximately 18 inches long, a quarter-inch thick and a half-inch wide. The release indicates Colorado State Patrol officers believe it was “propelled” from an unknown vehicle traveling in the opposite direction.

According to a CSP trooper, the metal impaled Hayutin. Sergeant Prater of the CSP said witnesses are helping with the investigation.

“We think we have two reliable witnesses,” he said.

Another trooper said Friday one witness saw the metal sail through the air and strike the victim’s car. He said it’s possible that charges will be filed, but more information has to be gathered.

“We need to identify where the piece of metal came from,” the trooper said.

Hayutin was driving a 1988 Subaru station wagon, which came to a rest on the south side of the highway, apparently without striking any other vehicles or objects. Troopers said the rear corner of the car was still in the eastbound lane when it came to a stop.

The incident happened at about 8:07 a.m. about one mile east of Old Snowmass, on a two-lane stretch of road in Snowmass Canyon. One lane of Highway 82 was closed for about an hour and a half to allow a complete investigation of evidence on the roadway, a trooper said.

“Any time we have an accident of this severity,” he said, “we have to make sure we investigate all the information that’s available.”

The Colorado State Patrol was assisted in the investigation by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Basalt Police Department and Basalt Fire/Ambulance.


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