Snow makes for slick drive
December 19, 2005
Monday’s snowfall proved better for the skiing than the driving.The Aspen Skiing Co. was reporting 2 to 4 new inches of snow on local slopes by 1 p.m. Traffic was moving again on Interstate 70 by that time, too.A truck carrying boxes of seafood wrecked on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon about 8:20 a.m. Monday near Shoshone, closing the freeway for several hours. A host of minor incidents on Highway 82, which one deputy blamed on “people driving way too fast,” also snarled traffic for commuters.On I-70, a truck carrying a load of fish for the Seattle Fish Co. was traveling west when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The truck slid along the barrier for about 35 feet before it fell off the elevated westbound lanes and came to a stop on its top, blocking the eastbound lanes, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The cargo remained in the truck.The driver, Lajuan D. Simmons of Aurora, was not hurt. He was cited for careless driving.The accident prompted troopers to close the eastbound lanes of I-70 until about 11:15 a.m.Almost immediately after authorities reopened I-70, a dump truck broke down in the eastbound lanes, requiring officials to close one lane, snarling traffic once again until about 12:30 p.m.Motorists also struggled on Highway 82, where numerous accidents up and down the valley kept the Colorado State Patrol and local authorities busy. An overturned SUV on the side of the highway before 6:30 a.m. signaled the morning to come.The eastbound curve toward Basalt, just upvalley from Emma, proved problematic for several motorists, most of whom slid into the concrete median barrier. The accidents occurred between 8:45 and 9:30 a.m.”It was people driving way to fast,” said Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy George Kremer. The curve is “notoriously a bad spot,” he added.A woman driving a Kia lost control and slid into the center median on the left side of the highway. Authorities were just finishing handling that mishap when three more motorists encountered similar trouble.”We were just clearing the scene when a Jeep, a truck and a Ford Explorer all lost control coming around the curve and came straight for us,” said Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda.All of them managed to miss the police chief’s squad car. Ikeda said he believed the Roto-Rooter truck and the Jeep both hit the median barrier, and the truck also clipped the Ford.Though the right-hand lane remained open, upvalley motorists began making U-turns where they could cross to the downvalley lanes, doubling back to take Two Rivers Road past the accident scene, Kremer said. That forced authorities to call for additional traffic control.”People do some silly things,” Kremer said.No one appeared seriously hurt, but the woman who drove the Kia reportedly was taken to an area hospital.The State Patrol handled a separate accident near Catherine Store, but no details were available Monday afternoon.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Bobby Magill of the Post Independent contributed to this report.