Serious accidents plague I-70 Saturday |

Serious accidents plague I-70 Saturday

Tamara Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – One local man is dead and a local woman was seriously injured in separate accidents that occurred early Saturday morning. State Patrol troopers need help from the public to figure out what happened in the accident that killed Thomas Ishmael of Avon, said Cpl. Larry Graves. What troopers do know is this: Ishmael, 27, was walking east on I-70 around 3:15 a.m. when he was hit by an unidentified vehicle. The driver left without stopping, leaving Ishmael lying in the right eastbound lane, Graves said. Then, a semi-truck driven by Debra Daniels, 43, of Kansas ran over Ishmael. Daniels was unable to avoid striking the man and was not ticketed, Graves said. Ishmael was pronounced dead once police and ambulance crews arrived. Graves said it is unclear which accident ultimately killed Ishmael.The vehicle that initially hit Ishmael is believed to be a dark green Chevy or GMC pickup truck with a Colorado license plate, the State Patrol said in a statement. The truck should have damage on the driver’s side to the front bumper and grill area, the headlight and the door mirror, Graves said. Anyone with information regarding the crash is urged to call the State Patrol at (970) 945-6198.Ishmael has friends in Eagle County, but no immediate family, Graves said.Saturday’s death is the second time in the past month that a pedestrian has been hit by a car on I-70 and killed. It’s the third serious accident involving a pedestrian in the past month, as well. James Tolve, 50, of Morrison, was killed on Feb. 20 as he was stepping out of his car while pulled over during a snowstorm. Friends believe Tolve was trying to help another motorist who had been in an accident. Two days later, Jason Caulfield, 23, was hit by a car while trying to cross Vail’s North Frontage Road on his way back home at the Timber Ridge Apartments in Vail. He remains unconscious with severe head injuries in a Denver hospital, the man’s father said.Troopers don’t know why Ishmael was walking on I-70. “We don’t know if he was hitchhiking or not,” Graves said. “We can’t determine what he was doing on the interstate. We’re still trying to figure that out.”Graves did not know if an autopsy was scheduled. Attempts to reach Coroner Kara Bettis were unsuccessful. An Edwards woman was seriously injured earlier Saturday morning when her car struck a deer, causing her car to roll about five times. The woman, Meghan Cozzens, 25, was thrown from the vehicle. Cozzens was driving west on I-70 near Avon when the accident happened, the State Patrol said. Cozzens was taken to Vail Valley Medical Center and then flown to Denver Health Medical Center, Graves said. Attempts to determine her condition were unsuccessful Saturday. Troopers believe Cozzens was not wearing a seatbelt, Graves said. Vehicle accidents involving wildlife are not uncommon in Eagle County, but most of these crashes aren’t that serious, Graves said. “Normally they don’t roll,” he said. Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or, Colorado

Support Local Journalism