Man dies in head-on collision near Basalt |

Man dies in head-on collision near Basalt

Staff report

A man died early Saturday morning when the vehicle he was driving collided head-on with another vehicle on Highway 82 near Basalt, the Colorado State Patrol said.

The accident happened at approximately midnight Saturday, when a Toyota sedan traveling east in the westbound lanes of Highway 82 collided with a westbound Toyota SUV. The driver of the Toyota sedan was pronounced dead on the scene. The driver of the SUV, identified as Chris Tipton, 48, of Carbondale, was transported to Valley View Hospital with serious, non-life-threatening, injuries the State Patrol said.

The deceased driver’s name is being withheld pending notification of his relatives.

Richard Cornelius, division chief with the Basalt Fire Department, said firefighters and medical responders were called to the scene along with the Carbondale Fire Department at 12:05 a.m. The accident occurred in an area where both departments are paged automatically. The site was just west of the Cerise Ranch subdivision, between El Jebel and Catherine Store.

“It sounded pretty clear from the first responding law enforcement officer that there was a (fatality),” Cornelius said.

Firefighters undertook a “very complicated, labor-intensive” extrication of the deceased party because of the high-speed, head-on nature of the crash, he said.

Highway 82 was closed in both directions for about four hours for the investigation. Traffic was diverted onto a frontage road around the crash scene.

“The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but alcohol is being considered a possible contributing factor,” the State Patrol said. “The weather was clear and the road was dry at the time of the crash.”