Snow, ice close part of I-70, stranding travelers
DENVER Blowing snow and ice closed parts of eastbound Interstate 70 Sunday through the mountains as holiday travelers headed home, and at least five people were injured in separate accidents on icy roads in eastern Colorado, authorities said.Eastbound I-70 was closed for hours Sunday afternoon over Vail Pass and from Silverthorne to the Eisenhower Tunnel due to ice, falling snow and heavy holiday traffic. It reopened Sunday night.More than 200 people checked in at a shelter that the American Red Cross opened in Silverthorne for stranded travelers, spokeswoman Melinda Epp said. The Red Cross expected about 130 to spend the night.”We’ve had horrific road conditions all day and last night,” said dispatcher Raven Walker at the West Vail Shell, one of the main towing operations in Eagle County. Walker was in the middle of his second, 16-hour shift this weekend, and the company had all five trucks operating.”It’s still coming down hard,” Walker said of the snow. “We’re doing our best to keep the roadsides cleaned up.”On the Continental Divide, Loveland ski area reported 19.5 inches of new snow Sunday and 43 new inches in the last two days. U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass was closed Sunday evening due to adverse conditions.Earlier Sunday, around 7:35 a.m., Antenor A. Camposano, 36, of West Valley, Utah, lost control of the pickup truck he was driving on Interstate 25 near Wellington, about 70 miles north of Denver, State Patrol spokesman Sgt. John Hahn said. His 7-year-old nephew and 14-year-old niece were ejected and hospitalized with serious injuries, Hahn said, and his wife was hospitalized in fair condition. The children were not wearing seat belts.Hahn said Camposano faces charges of careless driving causing injuries.An accident two hours later on Interstate 76 near Keenesburg, 40 miles northeast of Denver, left two men with serious injuries after the SUV they were in rolled, Hahn said. The driver in the crash was not injured and faces charges of careless driving causing injuries.The Colorado Department of Transportation closed Interstate 25 from Fort Collins to Cheyenne, Wyo., Sunday morning for a few hours before it was reopened before noon. The State Patrol said there were about eight separate accidents before I-25 was closed.At Vail Resort, skiers enjoyed 9 inches of new snow Sunday if they could stand the blowing snow and wind.”It’s windy. It’s not beautiful, but it’s snowing, so that’s good,” said Christa Oberlohr, evening manager at Pepi’s Bar & Restaurant in Vail.U.S. Highway 285 from Kenosha Pass to Fairplay was among roads closed temporarily due to blowing snow and icy roads.Denver International Airport reported few problems as light snow showers fell. About 157,000 travelers were expected to pass through the airport Sunday as the holiday weekend wrapped up.National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Kalina said less than an inch of snow had fallen in some parts of the Denver metro area. He said about 4.2 inches fell in Aurora and 4 inches in Parker.Kalina said forecasters expect no snow Monday and a high in the mid-50s in the Denver area.
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