Man killed while checking on accident victim

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— A Walden man was killed Thursday afternoon on Colorado Highway 14 while he was standing in the highway talking on the phone with a 911 dispatcher.

According to a report from the Colorado State Patrol, Larry Stephenson, 58, was using his cell phone to report an accident in which he had just been involved when a semi driven by Steven Hobbs, 52, of Laramie, Wyo., struck him.

Stephenson, who was standing in the westbound lane of Colo. 14, landed 38 feet away, in the eastbound lane.

Moments before the fatal accident, Stephenson and a Stagecoach woman were involved in a two-car, noninjury accident.

Trooper Rick Kaspar said Stephenson was checking on the Stagecoach woman when the second, fatal accident took place.

The Jackson County Coroner pronounced Stephenson dead at the scene four minutes after he was hit by the semi. Stephenson died from massive internal injuries, Kaspar said.

Hobbs, driving a 1999 Kenworth semi carrying coal from Twentymile Coal Co. to Laramie, tried to pass another semi stopped in the eastbound lane when he hit Stephenson, Kaspar said.

After striking Stephenson, Hobbs' semi jack-knifed and slid off the road 115 feet from where it hit Stephenson.

The driver of the semi that Hobbs was attempting to pass had stopped to help Stephenson and the Stagecoach woman involved in the original accident, Kaspar said.

The roads were icy at the time of the accident, and Hobbs was driving in whiteout conditions, according to the accident report.

Hobbs, who was wearing his seat belt, was not injured.

Drugs and alcohol are not suspected as contributing factors in the accident that killed Stephenson.

Hobbs was issued a careless driving causing death ticket, a misdemeanor. Hobbs was cited because of the speed at which he was traveling in the whiteout conditions, Kaspar said. Although the speed limit on Colo. 14 is 65 mph, Hobbs should have been going slower than the 35 mph he was traveling because of the adverse conditions, Kaspar said.

While Kaspar, another trooper and rescue crews were on the scene of the two accidents, a third truck came upon the scene too quickly and struck the car driven by the Stagecoach woman, pushing it several feet down the highway.

Kaspar said he did not know whether the man driving the pickup that caused the third accident was given a citation.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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