Three injured in accident

Former county commissioner among seriously injured

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A three-vehicle accident on U.S. Highway 40 early Friday morning sent three people to the hospital, including a former county commissioner who was severely injured.

Isaias Perez, who was attempting to pass a stopped vehicle in the eastbound lane just outside of Milner, collided with Bill Haight, who was traveling west.

Haight, who was a Routt County commissioner from 1983 to 1987, was the most severely injured person and was flown to Denver Health Medical Center. Haight, 71, is in stable condition, a hospital representative said. He suffered from chest, arm and leg injuries.

The accident occurred at 6:40 a.m. Friday. Dennis Cullen, 66, of Steamboat Springs was headed east on U.S. 40 and stopped to turn left onto Routt County Road 48 near Milner, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Ryan Parker said. Cullen was driving an older model Dodge truck.

Isaias Perez, a 57-year-old Steamboat man, was driving behind Cullen in a 1997 Chevrolet pickup. Perez said he was unable to stop in time and tried to pass Cullen on the left, Parker said. He did not see the oncoming car that Haight was driving, Parker said.

Perez collided head-on with Haight in the westbound lane. Haight was traveling in a 2004 Nissan Maxima.

The two vehicles came to a stop facing each other. After the initial impact, Haight's car hit Cullen's truck, which had not moved since stopping to turn left.

Everyone involved in the accident was a wearing seat belt, and airbags were deployed in Haight's and Perez's vehicles, Parker said. Both vehicles were totaled.

Haight had to be extricated from his vehicle. He was taken by ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center before being airlifted to Denver at about 10:45 a.m.

Perez and a passenger, Omar Bautista, were helped out of the pickup. Both suffered severe injuries to their faces, chests and legs. The two were transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where they remain in fair condition, hospital spokeswoman Christine McKelvie said.

Cullen suffered no injuries and was able to get out of his vehicle on his own.

Haight, who is well-known in the Steamboat community, has taken on a number of public-service roles. The Steamboat Springs High School graduate served on the board of directors for Yampa Valley Electric Association from 1979 to 1998. During that time, he was on the board of National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.

Haight also served for many years as a transportation commissioner for Colorado. He owns H&H Excavating with his son and Wee Ski Inc., which manufactures ski harnesses for children.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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