Police search for driver involved in fatal crash on pass | AspenTimes.com

Police search for driver involved in fatal crash on pass

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Colorado State Patrol is still searching for the driver of a vehicle that rolled off Highway 82 on Independence Pass Friday, leaving one man dead and another critically injured.

Police say Leadville resident Jesus G. Chiarez-Garcia, 32, was driving the Chevy Safari van from Leadville to Aspen when it skidded off the left side of the road, just above the upper trailhead of the Lost Man Loop. The van rolled, ejecting two of the six people inside.

A car traveling behind the van picked up three of the van’s passengers, including Gabriel Luevano, 22, who was declared dead once the second vehicle reached Aspen. Miguel Arias, also 22, was transported to the hospital, and was later airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, where he was in critical condition with back injuries.

Three other passengers, Leonel Chayrez, 32, Rigoberto Luevano Arias, 28, and Marcos Salazar, 36, were treated and released. But the driver of the van fled the scene, getting a ride back to Leadville, said Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy George Kremer.

The State Patrol is searching for Chiarez-Garcia, who is described as being 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. He currently lives in the Leadville area.

The men were driving into Aspen to work on a drywalling project and had never been over the pass before, Kremer said. The road may have been icy in a spot where the accident occurred, he said. An investigation continues.

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The vehicle traveling behind the van, and another vehicle, brought some of the van’s occupants into Aspen, stopping at the Texaco station on the corner of Main and Galena streets, where they met paramedics.

Anyone with information about where to locate Jesus G. Chiarez-Garcia is asked to contact the Colorado State Patrol at 970-824-6501.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]