Glenwood Canyon: slow down says State Patrol
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Colorado State Patrol Capt. Rich Duran said people should follow the speed limit and drive according to the conditions in Glenwood Canyon.
Two serious accidents involving semi-trailers and large steel pipes this year have highlighted the dangers of driving too fast in the canyon. On Saturday around 1:40 p.m., a semi-trailer rolled while taking a right turn and dropped large steel pipes onto the lanes below. The westbound lanes were closed for almost five hours, and three people were sent to the hospital after seven vehicles struck pipes in the eastbound lanes, the CSP said.
David Fernald, 62, and Pamela Taylor, 60, of Franktown were transported to Valley View Hospital from one vehicle. Tania Hermosillo, 28, of Carbondale was transported to the hospital from another. CSP Trooper Denny O’Leary said they were all in stable condition Saturday night but due to federal hospital laws further information was unavailable.
According to a press release from the CSP Fernald and Taylor suffered possible broken bones and other internal injuries. Hermosillo suffered a possible minor closed head injury and cuts and bruises.
The driver of the semi-trailer, Anthony Monk, 54, of Aurora, was cited with three counts of careless driving and one count of spilling a load on the highway. The accident was still under investigation, but speed was considered as a likely factor in the crash.
Even worse was a similar accident in April that killed two people and closed all four lanes of the highway through the night. A Freightliner semi-trailer heading westbound tipped over, also during a right turn. It spilled 38-foot-long steel pipes onto vehicles in the lanes below.
A witness said at the time the scene was “the most horrific you could imagine” and another semi-trailer on the lanes below looked like it had been “filleted open” by one of the pipes from above. One man reportedly had to watch his spouse die while she was alive but badly injured.
O’Leary said Saturday’s accident was the third this year involving a semi-trailer spilling its load onto the lanes below in Glenwood Canyon. He said they occurred in different places in the canyon.
Duran said accidents with semi-trailers get the most attention because they’re more likely to cause lane closures and serious injuries, but people driving all kinds of vehicles go too fast in the canyon.
Duran and O’Leary said the canyon sees more accidents due to its curves and low visibility as well as a lack of sun and elevated sections of roadway that make the pavement freeze faster than other locations. Drivers coming from the 75 mph zone east of the canyon and may be tempted to keep driving faster than the 50 mph limit in the canyon.
To make matters worse, the CSP patrols the canyon for speeders but doesn’t have room to pull people over anywhere but in the rest areas. That means people aren’t deterred by seeing other drivers pulled over and getting tickets.
“Speed becomes an issue out there,” Duran said. “We do the best we can for speed enforcement, but we don’t get a lot of visibility.”
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO