Ice causes pileup in Snowmass Canyon
December 24, 2005
By Joel StoningtonAspen Times Staff Writer
Four cars, including a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office vehicle, collided in a multicar pileup in Snowmass Canyon on Christmas Eve.Jesse Steindler, the deputy involved in the accident, said he was answering a call for a one-car accident. When he came around a particularly icy bend in the canyon, he saw a van and a pregnant woman standing in front of it. He said there were two other vehicles stopped on either side of the road, attempting to help the woman.
“I stopped behind her, she was standing by the front,” Steindler said. “I knew someone would hit her car. I activated my lights, and 15 seconds later someone hit me in the rear; 10 or 15 seconds later, another car hit me.”The pregnant woman was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Steindler said that the driver of first car to hit him was injured, though it was unknown how severely. The drivers from both cars that hit the deputy were taken to the hospital. The deputy was not injured.Armando Gutierrez was just returning from work when he saw the single-car accident and stopped to help. He said there was a Chrysler van with a pregnant woman that had hit the side rail and stopped. The deputy pulled up behind the van with the woman standing in front of it and turned on his lights. A Toyota Tacoma slid in sideways and slammed into the police vehicle, spun around and ended up in front of the van. Only seconds later, a Blazer hit the back of the deputy’s vehicle head-on.
The turn was in the shade as soon as the sun went down, and the road was quite icy. The Aspen and Basalt fire departments responded, as well as four ambulances, said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson. Though he mentioned that ice was a likely cause, he also said, “people were going too fast, I can guarantee you that.”