Two cars crash in dark Avon roundabout
July 18, 2014
AVON — An Avon roundabout cloaked in darkness left two women injured in separate wrecks, one seriously, when they drove over the roundabout and crashed.
Neither were wearing seatbelts when they crashed through the center of the roundabout at the intersection of U.S. Highway 6 and Avon's Post Boulevard, over both medians and into the road on the other side, Avon police said.
The roundabout has neither street lights nor reflectors to alert motorists.
At 2 a.m. Sunday, Vannessa Ramos, 24, of Edwards, was driving westbound on U.S. Highway 6 and failed to negotiate the roundabout, police said. She struck some raised median barriers, vaulted over those and through the center the roundabout.
Ramos was ejected from the car and landed in the roadway lanes of the eastbound lanes, as did her car.
Her injuries were serious enough that she was rushed by ambulance to the Vail Valley Medical Center, then flown by Flight for Life to Denver.
The Colorado State Patrol is also investigating Ramos in connection with a hit-and-run in Eagle-Vail earlier that evening.
At 10:35 p.m., previous to Ramos' accident, the roundabout claimed another victim that night.
Sally Gahagan, 56, of Edwards, was driving westbound on U.S. Highway 6 and failed to negotiate that same roundabout. Gahagan also went straight through and over it, landing in the eastbound lane of U.S. Highway 6.
Gahagan suffered some facial injuries, police said. She was summonsed for DUI, careless driving and failure to wear a seatbelt, Avon police said.
"These two women are lucky to be alive," said Bob Ticer, Avon police chief. "If they and others would buckle their seatbelts, as the law requires, the chances of avoiding injuries increase 10-fold."
A traffic ticket for failure wear a seatbelt costs $75.
"You could use that $75 for something else," Ticer said.
Driving in the dark
The streetlights at that roundabout are broken, and have been for some time.
Post Boulevard is still owned by the Traer Creek Metro District, and most of the streetlights are not working along that thoroughfare, said Justin Hildreth with the town of Avon.
The town got a couple working, but the accidents knocked them out, Hildreth said.
The long-running legal battle between Avon and Traer Creek is winding down, and those lights will turned over to the town in about a month. The town will have them working before the winter season, Hildreth said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.