State Patrol: Hwy. 82 wreck isn’t clear-cut
SNOWMASS – A two-vehicle, head-on collision on Highway 82 in Snowmass Canyon early Wednesday morning has investigators from the Colorado State Patrol searching for answers on how one of the vehicles got headed the wrong direction.
The accident occurred at 6 a.m. in the eastbound lanes at about mile marker 28, according to Bonnie Collins, accident reconstruction technician with the patrol.
A Nissan Frontier driven by a 47-year-old man from Glenwood Springs and a Ford Escape driven by a 48-year-old man from Basalt collided, according to a statement from the State Patrol. The drivers’ names weren’t released. They were both the sole occupants of their vehicles.
Collins said it hasn’t been determined at this point which vehicle was headed westbound in the eastbound lanes or why.
“We’re getting conflicting statements from witnesses,” she said.
Collins and other investigators are looking into two possible scenarios. One is that a vehicle could have used a turnaround ramp in Snowmass Canyon and ended up heading into opposing traffic, Collins said. Another theory is that a vehicle spun out in slick conditions and got clobbered by a trailing vehicle.
At least one witness reported seeing tire marks in the snow on both shoulders of the road to the east of the crash site. That could indicate vehicles were dodging an oncoming vehicle.
Collins said it was undetermined as of Wednesday night if drugs or alcohol was a contributing factor in the accident.
After the collision, the Nissan came to rest off the north side of the road, facing southwest, according to the State Patrol’s statement. The Ford came to rest off the south side of the road, facing east.
Both drivers were transported to Aspen Valley Hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries, the State Patrol said. The driver of the Ford was later flown to Swedish Medical Center in Denver.
Emergency responders from Basalt had to weave their way through a logjam of traffic for one-half to three-quarters of a mile to get to the scene, Basalt Deputy Fire Chief Brian Benton said. The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed at mile post 26, and traffic was diverted to Lower River Road. The lanes reopened at 8:16 a.m.
Collins said she was trying to recontact witnesses to determine the circumstances of the crash. Anyone who witnessed the accident can call the Craig Regional Communications Center at 970-824-6501.
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