Eagle driver dies at sharp East Vail curve
Details of the one-car wreck that occurred shortly before 1 a.m. near Aspen Lane remain sketchy, but authorities say the driver, Michael John DeLuca, died instantly.
“We’ve had fatal accidents in that area before and the signage there is appropriate,” Vail Detective Sgt. Mike Warren says. “When it’s dark and somebody’s going too fast, it’s not the easiest corner to navigate.”
DeLuca was a graduate of Battle Mountain High School. He had a wife, Andrea, a step-daughter, Katrina, 10, and two 3-year-old twin daughters, Anja and Rebekah.
His parents, Robert and Barbara DeLuca, are the owners of Currents Fine Jewelers on Bridge Street.
“It’s an incredible shock to everybody,” says Lisa Porter, a family friend. “I’m just at a total loss. He’s their only child.”
After a long, downhill straightaway leading out of Vail Village that flattens outs along the golf course, the South Frontage Road curves sharply to the left as it passes under I-70.
“This person is a local; he knows that corner,” Warren says. “It does turn to the left abruptly, though there are plenty of signs. A number of years ago there was another fatal accident where the driver hit the same pylon.”
Investigators are not sure how fast DeLuca was going as he headed eastbound down the South Frontage Road. Investigators are also not yet sure where DeLuca had been before the crash, Warren says.
“Some skid marks were laid down, but it’s still under investigation by the accident investigation,” Warren says. “All we know is he hit the pylon.”
DeLuca, who ran his own property management company, was not wearing a seatbelt, Deputy County Coroner Bruce Campbell says.
An autopsy will be performed today, Campbell says.
In lieu of flowers, the DeLuca family asks donations be made to the Michael DeLuca Children’s Scholarship Fund, 302 E. Gore Creek Dr. #105, Vail, CO, 81657.
Matt Zalaznick covers public safety, Eagle County Courts and Avon/ Beaver Creek. He can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or via e-mail at email@example.com.