Winter storm blasts Colorado; fatal accident on Interstate 70 near Vail |

Winter storm blasts Colorado; fatal accident on Interstate 70 near Vail

Staff reports
Crews clear the Aspen pedestrian mall early Tuesday morning.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

The snowstorm barreling across Colorado on Tuesday morning is hitting the Front Range the hardest but also impacting travel in the mountains along Interstate 70 and those using the Aspen airport.

An early-morning accident Tuesday in Dowd Junction resulted in one fatality, and closed the westbound lanes of Interstate 70 for much of the day.

According to Colorado State Patrol Master Trooper Gary Cutler, the first call about the crash came in at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. While the investigation isn’t yet complete, Cutler said it appears that a tractor-trailer rig jackknifed, then was hit by two other tractor-trailers and a pickup truck.

The name of the person killed in the crash hadn’t been released as of Tuesday afternoon. Cutler said two other people were transported via ambulance to a Denver-area hospital. One of those people had significant injuries. The second person was reported to have minor injuries.

The eastbound lanes reopened after 9 a.m. and the westbound lanes reopened about 6 p.m., according to Eagle County officials. Traffic was being redirected to Highway 6.

The accident also caused one of the fuel tanks to rupture in one of the tractor-trailers. That required a hazardous materials team to clean up the leaking fuel.

The Eagle River Fire Protection District posted on Facebook at 9:15 a.m. that westbound lanes will be closed until at least 4 p.m. for “HAZMAT mitigation and investigation.”

UPDATE: 9:15am – per CSP: I-70 Westbound is projected to be closed until 4 PM today for HAZMAT mitigation and…

Posted by Eagle River Fire Protection District on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

There was also a long delay expected near Idaho Springs after a rockslide, which has closed westbound I-70 at exit 248. It reopened about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Flights at Aspen Airport were getting back to normal Tuesday after delays and cancellations in the morning. Travelers should check or confirm with their airlines.

Traveling the highways for the holidays Tuesday has been discouraged by the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado State Patrol as the winter storm moves across Colorado. It is expected to clear out by the afternoon, then another storm is forecast to hit the state Wednesday and last through the Thanksgiving weekend.

Around Aspen, roads early Thursday morning were snowpacked and Aspen Skiing Co. reported 5 inches of snow as of 5 a.m. The snow is forecast to continue at higher elevations around Aspen and Snowmass through the morning.

This is a developing story that will be updated.