Man dies from injuries suffered in 82 crash |

Man dies from injuries suffered in 82 crash

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

A man critically injured in an auto accident three weeks ago on Highway 82 died Tuesday morning.

Edwin Thorne, 87, of Greenwich, Conn., was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction; he was airlifted there after the two-car crash on Sept. 24. Thorne’s car was broadsided on Highway 82 when he failed to come to a stop at the stop sign on Smith Hill Road near Woody Creek.

Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Ron Ryan said Thorne died at 9 a.m., having succumbed to chest and abdominal injuries. Thorne’s wife, 78, was also injured in the crash, but is expected to recover.

Two men in the pickup truck that broadsided Thorne’s sedan suffered minor injuries. Thorne was airlifted to St. Mary’s immediately after arriving at Aspen Valley Hospital.

The Smith Hill intersection with Highway 82 is notorious. Four people were killed on Dec. 31, 1998, when a driver did not stop at the same stop sign, striking a downvalley-bound car. The driver of the second vehicle walked away from the crash, but all four people in the first car were killed.

That accident occurred soon after that section of the highway had been four-laned.

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Because drivers have missed the stop sign leading to Highway 82, a large flashing light was added to the intersection to warn drivers to stop and yield before turning onto the highway.

“I don’t know how that intersection could be done differently unless there is a stoplight put there,” said Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Bill Barkley. “But even then, would drivers see the lights? The vision there is good ? if you stop and look upvalley you can see traffic coming.”

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