Three-vehicle accident sends three to hospital

Two people listed in fair condition, one treated and released, and a dog underwent surgery

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A three-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 40 just east of Steamboat Springs sent three people to the hospital and a dog into surgery Friday afternoon.

A Toyota Rav4 was westbound on U.S. 40 when it crossed the center line, first striking an eastbound Dodge Ram in the driver's side rear and then hitting a second Dodge Ram towing a flatbed trailer head-on, Steamboat Springs Police Officer Matt Harmon said. After the head-on collision, the sport utility vehicle rolled onto its driver's side and came to rest, Harmon said.

The accident occurred about 1:30 p.m. Friday, in front of the Holiday Inn. It is under investigation, but one witness said the Toyota's driver's side front tire blew, which could have caused it to swerve into the eastbound lane.

The driver of the Toyota, Brandon Helmstetter, 23, of Steamboat Springs, was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center where he was in fair condition, said Christine McKelvie, public relations director at YVMC.

His passenger, Jenna Mcaleer, 23, also was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where she also is fair condition.

Avalanche, a dog who was riding in the back of the SUV, also suffered injuries and was taken to Steamboat Veterinary Hospital for surgery. The animal was taken by Steamboat Springs Animal Control.

The driver of the Dodge Ram with the flatbed trailer, Martin Moreno Loera, 39, also was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center. He was treated and released Friday afternoon.

The driver of the first Dodge Ram, Ronald Sills, 62, was evaluated at the scene of the accident and not taken to the hospital.

The police are investigating the accident, but Harmon said they do not believe alcohol or drugs were involved.

The Toyota was totaled, Harmon said, and Loera's pickup was severely damaged. Sills' pickup had moderate damage.

When the Toyota was being towed, it started to smolder. A fire truck was called to the impound yard.


-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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