Man’s heart attack might have caused Hwy. 82 accident
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – A Glenwood Springs resident who had a car accident along Highway 82 in the midvalley Thursday died of a heart attack, but an investigator said it is uncertain if the medical problem caused the crash.
Jose Ulloa-Martinez, 56, of Glenwood Springs, was driving east or upvalley when his car went off the side of the road, down a small embankment and came to rest against a tree, according to Bonnie Collins, an accident reconstructionist with the Colorado State Patrol. The crash occurred at about 7 a.m. at Emma Curve, between mile markers 21 and 22.
“It’s been confirmed by a doctor that it was a medical-caused death,” Collins said. “The doctor said it was a heart attack but I can’t tell if it occurred before, after or during the crash.”
Ulloa-Martinez suffered a “slight abrasion” from the accident but it was not life threatening, Collins said. He was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.
An ambulance crew from Basalt Fire Department found the man unresponsive and performed CPR. “They actually did get a heartbeat and transported him to a hospital,” said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson.
Collins said Ulloa-Martinez was declared dead at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, where life-saving efforts continued but were unsuccessful.
One lane of upvalley Highway 82 was closed during the rescue and investigation by the Colorado State Patrol. All lanes were reopened by 11 a.m.
Morning commuters were traveling slow at the time of the accident because of icy and snowpacked conditions. Traffic stacked up in the eastbound lane during the investigation. Some impatient commuters pulled U-turns on the highway, backtracked to Two Rivers Road and drove through Basalt to try to save time. A reporter witnessed two vehicles making unsafe U-turns by pulling in front of downvalley-bound traffic, but no other crashes were reported.
Elsewhere, the Basalt Fire Department responded to the following calls for the week of Jan. 30 through Feb. 5:
• Jan. 30, 12:28 p.m. – Responded to a two-car, non-injury traffic accident at Evans Court and Willits Lane. Small fluid clean-up.
• Jan. 30, 12:18 p.m. – Responded to a medical call at East Cody Lane for a person complaining of chest pain. Patient was transported to the hospital.
• Jan. 31, 2:56 p.m. – Responded to a medical call at Midland Avenue for a person complaining of shortness of breath. Patient was evaluated, refused transport to the hospital and was released.
• Feb. 1, 9:15 am. – Responded to a chemical hazard at 18500 Highway 82. A fire extinguisher had fallen off its rack and discharged in an occupied school bus. Patients were evacuated, evaluated and released to school officials.
• Feb. 1, 1:06 p.m. – Responded to a reported one-car traffic accident at 21050 Highway 82. Upon investigation, no accident was found.
• Feb. 2, 11:24 p.m. – Responded to a medical call for a child birth on Highway 82. There were no complications and two patients were transported to the hospital.
• Feb. 4, 4:58 p.m. – Responded to a smoke report in the vicinity of Capitol Creek Road. Upon investigation, nothing was found.
• Feb. 5, 12:38 am. – Responded to a reported chimney fire with flames showing. The occupants had used a fire extinguisher to reduce the flames. Firefighters removed burning material from the stove pipe, completed extinguishing fire and checked the walls for any hidden fire.
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