Flying, rolling pickup strikes SUV, 1 hurt
Lila Flieder deserves ice cream, and lots of it.At about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, Lila, 5, was sitting with her mother, Marsha, in the family SUV near the Eagle River where Interstate 70 crosses over U.S. Highway 6 when a westbound pickup came flying off the interstate above. The truck rolled onto Highway 6, between the twin bridges, then rolled into the back of their vehicle before landing on its side behind the Flieders’ car. The Denver-area mother and daughter were shaken, but unhurt.Consoled by her sisters, Lila was still sobbing every few moments as police, fire and ambulance crews cleaned up the accident scene.The driver of the pickup, a Grand Junction-area man who had not been identified at press time, was conscious and talking after the accident. Paramedics and firefighters pulled the man from the wreckage of his truck and took him to Vail Valley Medical Center. His condition was unknown.
“He rolled into our car, we ran up the hill and called 911,” Marsha Flieder said. “I heard screeching above us and looked up. He was rolling right toward us. I thought he was coming right for us.” Meanwhile, Marsha’s husband, John, and the couple’s other two daughters were fishing in the Eagle River, a quick stopover at a favorite spot after the family had spent the last couple of days in Glenwood Springs.”I heard something, but I didn’t think anything about it,” John Flieder said. “Someone came and got us.”After the pickup careened off the interstate, witnesses rushed to the scene. Greg Rogers arrived first. “I was driving by and watched the car go over,” Rogers said. The son of a firefighter, Rogers quickly grabbed a fire extinguisher from his pickup and rushed to the crash site to check on the driver of the pickup.
“He was conscious when I got there, but he didn’t know what had happened,” Rogers said.Another witness, Chris Naughton of Casper, Wyo., was driving just behind the pickup when it veered off the road.”He went into the median just before the bridges,” Naughton said. “He caught it, but then went down and rolled. He landed top down on the barrier, then rolled down.”While the “how” of the accident was obvious from the witness reports and the trail of debris strewn across Highway 6, the “why” remains under investigation.
The “how” facing the Flieders, though, was how to get back home. Despite the smashed rear end of the vehicle, John suspected he could patch the vehicle up enough to drive it home.Obviously relieved that his wife and youngest daughter were unhurt, John Flieder was able to summon the kind of humor unique to those whose loved ones have escaped a close call.”Man, I can’t leave her alone for 15 minutes!” he said.Still trembling, Marsha Flieder was more reserved. “If we’d have been parked another four feet either way, what would have happened?” she said.Scott Miller is a reporter for the Vail Daily, based in Vail, Colorado.