Man dies after I-70 pileup
August 18, 2007
VAIL ” A man who was critically injured in a seven-car accident Thursday on I-70 in Vail died Friday morning in Denver.
Dustin Scriver, 22, of Eagle, was breathing but unconscious when firefighters used the jaws of life to pull him out of the wreckage on westbound I-70 near the Vail post office. He was flown to Denver by Flight for Life helicopter in critical condition.
Scriver died Friday morning at Denver Health Hospital, said Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis.
The wreck happened at about 2 p.m. in stand-still traffic, Vail Police Sgt. Dan Torgerson said.
A Coca-Cola truck ran into the back of another vehicle, which then caused a chain-reaction collision with five other vehicles. The driver of the Coca-Cola truck was going too fast for the traffic, Torgerson said. The accident closed the I-70 westbound lanes until 4:40 p.m. and backed up traffic. Cars were rerouted to North and South Frontage roads.
A canoe could be seen rammed through the windshield of the Coca-Cola truck, which was tangled up with two cars in a big metal heap. Other wrecked cars were seen nearby, while another was rammed hundreds of feet away.
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Three people in other cars suffered minor injuries.
Police are still investigating the accident, and no charges have been filed.
In light of the accident, the Colorado Department of Transportation is putting up more signs warning people of slow construction traffic. Construction crews are replacing the barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes in Dowd Junction. The work, which began nearly two and a half months ago, has been causing long traffic delays between Vail and Avon.
Locals have come to expect backed-up cars and long waits, but visitors and truckers aren’t expecting stand-still traffic on the interstate, said Georgene Priscilla, a 30 year-Vail resident. And even drivers who know it’s coming, and even for those driving below the speed limit, it can be a jarring and surprising stop, she said.
“All of a sudden, there it is, all that traffic backed up, and I should have known it was there, but you don’t realize it until you’re almost upon it,” Priscilla said. “They really need more warnings out there.”
Glenwood Springs resident Rick Garfield says he makes regular trips to Denver and remembers having to slam on his breaks a couple times on the way back.
“It felt dangerous a couple times. They really need to fix that,” he said.
Peter Kozinski, an engineer CDOT, says the construction shouldn’t be a surprise ” there is a lighted message board near Vail Mountain School in East Vail warning drivers of the construction. He says there’s another sign a mile from the construction area, which was near where the accident occurred.
Kozinski said it’s unfortunate that traffic was backed up as far as it was. After a nasty accident like the one on Thursday, one begins wondering if more signs could have helped, he said.
Kozinski plans to put up two more signs on westbound I-70 ” one lighted message sign near the main Vail interchange, and one near the pedestrian overpass.
“We have to examine where people get numb to signs, when they kind of blank them out, and when they are useful information,” Kozinski said. There are no plans to add signs to the eastbound lanes, Kozinski said.