Gypsum man dies in rollover accident
He was known to his friends as “Chico.” To others, Andres Hernandez, 24, was a great guy who always chipped in his time.
Hernandez died Saturday in a rollover accident on a private road north of Routt County Road 6, about eight miles northwest of Toponas, near Steamboat Springs.
“He lived with us on and off for about two years,” said Linda Klahr, mother of Nick Klahr, who was friends with Hernandez. “He was always flexed in the living room, it seemed. And he always chipped in for dinner. He always chipped for anything we needed.”
Nick Klahr said Chico was his best friend, and he had been his best friend for more than seven years.
“He was a great guy,” Klahr said. “He was loyal, and he worked hard at everything. He loved life, and he would do anything for anyone.
“I have a lot of stories, but none of them would be appropriate for the paper.”
Around 12:15 a.m., Saturday, Hernandez and two other friends were traveling northbound on a private, single-lane jeep trail when the 1993 Dodge pickup truck, driven by Luke Gray, 20, swerved off the right side of the road, said Cpl. Brian Bagley of the Colorado State Patrol. The truck went down a steep embankment, rolling twice and coming to rest on its wheels.
Hernandez was ejected during the rollover and was pronounced dead at the scene, Bagley said. Passenger Lucas Kelley, 23, and the driver were not injured in the accident.
No one was wearing seat belts, Bagley said, and although the truck was equipped with airbags, they did not deploy.
At about 3:30 a.m., Gray was arrested at the scene for suspicion of vehicular homicide and booked into the Routt County Jail, Bagley said. He was released Sunday afternoon on $20,000 bond to his family. He is scheduled to appear in Routt County Court on July 22.
The Colorado State Patrol is still investigating the accident.
But Hernandez apparently had no physical injuries – his face wasn’t marked or scratched at all, said a cousin, Veronica Pinela – but apparently his head hard the truck hard enough to cause his death.
“He was always so happy; I’ve never seen him angry,” Pinela said. “He loved the mountains. He always said what a gorgeous place this was in the mountains.”
Bagley said alcohol is suspected as a factor in the accident.
“It’s sad,” Pinela said. “That’s what happens when you’re drinking and driving, I guess. It’s just so sad. But he will be missed. We will always miss him.”
Hernandez is survived by: his mother, Socorro Chavez; his stepfather, Umberto Chavez; a brother, Umberto Chavez, Jr.; and sisters Maricela, Noelia and Rosario Hernandez.
A memorial will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Eagle, followed by funeral services at Sunset View Cemetery in Eagle. A public viewing will be today at 7 p.m., at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, followed by a Rosary services at 8:30 p.m. Donations can be made to the Hernandez family at Alpine Bank, account No. 3310910570.
Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607 or at email@example.com.