Accident delays commute

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A three-car accident slowed rush-hour traffic and sent three people to the hospital Friday morning.

At about 8 a.m., a 1992 Mercury Topaz headed east on U.S. Highway 40 near Shield Drive slammed into the back of a 1995 Ford Explorer, police reported. The Explorer was the last vehicle in a line of traffic waiting for the signal at U.S. 40 and Elk River Road.

The impact of the collision caused the Explorer to rear-end a 2001 Infiniti sedan. Police estimate the Topaz was traveling between 35 mph and 40 mph when it struck the Explorer.

The driver of the Topaz, 28-year-old Steamboat resident Magdalena Valles, suffered bruises to her head and body, police Sgt. Nick Bosick said. Valles and her infant child, who was properly secured in a child safety seat, were transported via ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center for precautionary reasons.

Ryan Lightner, the driver of the Explorer, wasn't injured in the accident, Bosick said. Sally Tyler of Hayden, the driver of the Infiniti, reportedly suffered from symptoms of whiplash. She also was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center. Valles, her infant child and Tyler were treated and released Friday, a Yampa Valley Medical Center spokesperson said.

The drivers of all three vehicles were wearing safety belts, Bosick said.

The accident caused significant damage to the front of the Topaz and rear of the Explorer. Minor damage was reported on the Infinity. Valles was cited for following too closely, Bosick said.

Traffic headed east on U.S. 40 was diverted onto Shield Drive for about 35 minutes as emergency personnel treated the victims and cleared the highway of the damaged vehicles.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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