Icy highway leads to rush-hour wrecks | AspenTimes.com

Icy highway leads to rush-hour wrecks

Aspen Times Staff

Ten vehicles piled up on the ice on Highway 82 Monday afternoon, forcing closure of the highway. (Jordan Curet / The Aspen Times)

Two multiple-vehicle accidents closed the downvalley lanes of Highway 82 for nearly three hours during the Monday afternoon commute.

The accidents occurred within a few minutes and a few hundred yards of each other in the downvalley lanes at Shale Bluffs, outside of Aspenl. Cars, SUVs and pickups were strewn across the road after drivers in both downvalley lanes hit a large patch of ice and simultaneously spun out.

The first accident, involving four vehicles, happened shortly before 4:45 p.m. The second accident, involving six cars and trucks, occurred at the next curve just as police and other emergency responders were setting up to deal with the first accident, according to Orrin Moon, deputy chief of the Aspen Fire Protection District.

The highway was reopened at approximately 7:30 p.m.

“It’s a sheet of ice … a little sand on the road wouldn’t hurt a bit,” said one motorist. “I come around the corner and there were cars all over the road, and I just couldn’t stop ” and bam, bam, bam, bam.”

Rifle resident Javier Ponce was traveling about 35 mph when the two vehicles in front of him spun out. Ponce’s brakes proved useless as his white truck, bearing the name Mountain Air Mechanical, piled into a truck in front.

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Moon said there were no major injuries as a result of the wrecks, but an ambulance and emergency medical technicians were called to the scene. When the ambulance finally left, around 5:50 p.m., it did not have its lights on.

Traffic quickly backed up to the Aspen Business Center after the accidents because both downvalley lanes were involved. Downvalley-bound motorists caught behind the accidents were directed to turn around during the investigation.

The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.