Randy Wyrick

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Multi-car wreck closes Vail Pass for three hours

EAGLE COUNTY — No one was seriously injured in a 15-car pileup that closed Interstate 70 for three hours Tuesday.

The Colorado State Patrol is still investigating the cause of the pileup.

What they do know is that at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, about 15 vehicles, including a tractor-trailer rig, piled up in the westbound lane on Vail Pass near mile marker 186. Four people were transported with minor injuries by ambulance to Vail Valley Medical Center.

While the cause remains unclear, the Colorado State Patrol said the storm that blew through Monday and early Tuesday left the road icy and snow-packed at the time of the crash.

Interstate 70 was closed at the Vail Pass summit and at Copper Mountain until just after 1 p.m. because of the lengthy cleanup.

The State Patrol is urging motorists to take it easy, pointing out that road conditions can change in an instant.

“Common sense is not always common,” said Josh Lewis, of the Colorado State Patrol. “Speed limits are for dry and clear highways, and these roads are neither dry nor clear.”

Road crews are still working snow shifts, said Tracy Trulove, with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

That means crews stay behind the wheel of their snowplows for 12 hours, then another crew takes over and the trucks keep rolling.

During last week’s massive storm, CDOT had 15 snowplows working west of Vail Pass, and nine additional snowplows on Vail Pass, keeping eastbound I-70 open.

Those road crews won’t get much of a break from the weather.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is calling for more snow today, Thursday and Friday.

The Vail Fire Department, the Eagle County Paramedic Services and the Colorado Department of Transportation responded to the scene with the Colorado State Patrol. Big Steve’s Towing, Lucas Towing, Affordable Towing, Ryan’s Recovery and West Vail Shell assisted in the cleanup and recovery of vehicles.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

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The VailDaily Updated Feb 14, 2014 01:52PM Published Feb 4, 2014 06:39PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.