Four die in two-car crash on Hwy. 82 | AspenTimes.com
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Four die in two-car crash on Hwy. 82

Janet Urquhart and Dan Bayer

A New Year’s Eve collision on Highway 82 left four people dead and sent a Carbondale man to the hospital, according to local authorities.

The crash occurred at about 8:40 p.m. when a vehicle apparently pulled out of Smith Way onto the highway across from Cozy Point Ranch and was struck broadside by a vehicle in the downvalley lane.

According to Tom Walsh, Pitkin County deputy coroner, there were four occupants in the Toyota Corolla that pulled out onto the highway. Walsh said he believed all four individuals were men. Three were pronounced dead at the scene at about 9:10 p.m.; a fourth was transported to Aspen Valley Hospital, where he died a short time later.

The 20-year-old Carbondale man was apparently driving alone in a Range Rover Discovery, which hit the Toyota. He was being treated in the AVH emergency room at 9:45 p.m., according to a hospital spokeswoman. His injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, Walsh said.

Also taken to AVH was a 55-year-old Illinois man, according to the AVH spokeswoman. He died after arrival, she said.

All four victims suffered massive internal injuries, according to Walsh. The deputy coroner said he did not know whether any of the individuals involved in the collision were wearing seatbelts. Airbags in the front of both vehicles deployed, according to a witness at the scene following the accident.

Authorities said they did not know whether alcohol played any role in the crash.

Details regarding the accident remained sketchy at Aspen Times press time. Authorities were still working to identify the victims.

The car carrying the four victims had New Mexico plates and may have been a rental car, according to Walsh.

“The cars get so spun around at that rate of speed, it’s really difficult to tell what happened,” Walsh said. “We’re still trying to sort it all out.”

“It was a very gruesome scene when we first got here,” said Tom Grady, operations supervisor for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Aspen fire and ambulance personnel also responded to the scene. Rescue personnel had to extricate the bodies from the Toyota, which came to rest with its rear end on the median guard rail. The top of the car was peeled off to get to the occupants, a witness said.

The Colorado State Patrol was also on the scene, but was not expected to release further details about the crash until sometime today.

Authorities did not release the names of any of the individuals involved in the crash by press time last night. Names of the victims will not be released until next of kin can be notified, Walsh said.

According to Grady, a “trauma session” will be organized Monday to help personnel who were called to the scene to deal with the stress.


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