Witnesses help cops identify truck driver | AspenTimes.com

Witnesses help cops identify truck driver

Jeremy Heiman

Police have identified the vehicle responsible for a bizarre accident last Friday that took the life of a Paonia man who was driving on Highway 82.

Information supplied by a witness helped police identify the vehicle, which was carrying a piece of metal that flew out of the bed and smashed through the window of a car driven by Robert Paul Hayutin, 34. The metal went through Hayutin’s windshield and into his neck, killing him.

Trooper Rich Duran of the Colorado State Patrol said Monday that a person driving behind the pickup truck saw a piece of metal fall out of the truck, bounce off the pavement, and smash through Hayutin’s windshield. An unidentified source at the Eagle office of the CSP said the witness identified the vehicle by a temporary license plate.

Trooper Duran said the CSP has contacted the driver of the pickup, but he has not been arrested. Duran said charges will likely be filed, but he would not speculate on the nature of those charges. The CSP needs to get another statement from the witness, to get more information on how the accident happened, he said.

The CSP is trying to contact the witness again, Duran said, but as of yesterday, she was on the road, returning to her Minnesota home.

Hayutin was traveling east on Highway 82 at around 8 a.m. Friday when he was fatally injured by the piece of steel. Duran said another witness told authorities that after Hayutin’s car came to a stop, the victim got out of the car and walked to the front of it before collapsing.

The steel object was said to be about a quarter-inch thick, and about 18 inches long.

The incident happened at about a mile east of Old Snowmass, on a two-lane stretch of highway. The victim’s car traveled about 142 feet before stopping partially off the highway on the right side.

Highway 82 was partially closed for about an hour and a half Friday morning while the accident was investigated by the CSP. The CSP was assisted by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, the Basalt Police Department and Basalt Fire/Ambulance.

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