Man suspected of fleeing accident

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One man was arrested Friday in connection with a rollover accident Thursday night on Routt County Road 129.

Benjamin Cross, 21, was arrested on suspicion of failing to notify police of an accident, careless driving and having no proof of insurance.

The accident occurred about 10 p.m. Thursday north of Columbine Drive. Cross was driving north on C.R. 129 when his white Chevrolet Blazer veered off the left side of the road, rolled down an embankment and landed on its roof in a creek, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Brett Hilling said. Cross and two other occupants allegedly left the scene of the accident uninjured.

A passerby reported the overturned Blazer to authorities about 9 a.m. Friday. When troopers arrived, they could not find the vehicle's occupants, and seeing a pool of red liquid near the car, they feared someone might be injured.

"We figured it was probably transmission or brake fluid, but you have to check it out nonetheless," Hilling said.

Routt County Search and Rescue was called to help search the thick oak brush surrounding the vehicle. They also turned the vehicle upright to make sure no one was trapped underneath it.

During the search, traffic along C.R. 129 was reduced to one lane for about two hours. While Hilling was directing traffic through the area, an old, beat-up Honda passed the scene about noon. Hilling noticed its muffler was broken off, the windshield and taillight were broken, all the mirrors but one were missing and no tread was on the tires.

He saw the Honda again 20 minutes later six or seven miles south of the crash scene, and he pulled it over.

"I had no choice but to stop a vehicle that's so defective," Hilling said.

Three people were in the Honda, and he asked them if they knew a Benjamin Cross, who was the registered owner of the crashed Blazer. One of the passengers identified himself as Benjamin Cross, Hilling said.

"I asked, 'Did you crash that vehicle?' and he said, 'Yeah,'" Hilling said. "So I asked, 'Why did you just drive past the crash scene 20 minutes ago?' and he said, 'I was too shaken up. I didn't know what to do.'"

Failing to notify police of an accident is a misdemeanor that carries 12 points against one's driver's license. Careless driving and not having proof of insurance each carries four points.

Investigators suspect that alcohol was involved in the crash, and further charges may be pending, Hilling said.

Troopers also cited the driver of the Honda, 19-year-old Adam Black, on suspicion of driving a defective vehicle. They cited the other Honda passenger, 18-year-old Christopher Lightner, on charges of being a minor in possession of alcohol.

--To reach Kristin Bjornsen, call 879-1502

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