Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Colorado State Patrol officers were busy from dawn to dusk Monday, dealing with a 5-ton boulder that fell on U.S. Highway 40 near Hayden and helping throngs of stranded motorists during the snowstorm.
Trooper Brett Hilling said officers responded to about six accidents from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Monday. At about 2 p.m., a monstrous boulder fell from the Mount Harris Canyon onto U.S. 40 near Hayden, closing it for three hours.
Hilling said the boulder severely damaged the road. No motorists were injured, and no vehicles were damaged.
Trooper Kirk Gardner was among the first to encounter the boulder and helped direct traffic. One lane of U.S. 40 was closed while Colorado Department of Transportation employees worked with several loaders to move the boulder.
Hilling said that after the boulder was removed, motorists were able to drive on the highway but that there were several gouges where it had fallen.
Troopers also responded to a call that a vehicle had rolled off Routt County Road 179 south of Milner.
Hilling said the driver, 17-year-old Molly Elizabeth Willard of Milner, was driving a Jeep Cherokee north on C.R. 179 around a curve, when the Jeep skidded on snow, mud and ice and rolled off the left side of the road. The car came to a rest on its top.
Willard was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where she was treated for minor injuries and released, Hilling said.
Troopers also responded to a report of a vehicle rollover on Colorado Highway 131 near McCoy, which is on the border of Routt and Eagle counties.
Yampa Fire District officials said Yampa resident Melanie Stroup, 26, slid off Colo. 131 near mile marker 25 at about 2:45 p.m. because of icy road conditions. The Toyota Tacoma she was driving rolled into a ditch.
Stroup reportedly sustained injuries to her face. She was was picked up by another motorist and taken to the King Creek Ranch, where she was picked up and transported by ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Another major accident caused by Monday's winter conditions involved a Ford F-550 truck with a trailer and a Honda Pilot on U.S. 40 near mile marker 129.
Hilling said the driver of the truck, who is from Steamboat Springs, rear-ended the Honda, whose driver is from Long--mont, when she stopped to allow a vehicle in front of her to make a left turn. Both were traveling east on U.S. 40.
The truck received minor damages, but the Pilot was badly damaged.
Hilling said several more accidents were reported Mon--day, especially on Rabbit Ears Pass.
"We had numerous vehicles off the side of the road and even more pending," Hilling said. "We had troopers tied up with accidents all over the county."
Hilling said drivers needed to take precaution when driving in icy conditions.
"Slow down. Make sure all of your driving equipment is right. You don't want to be driving on bald tires in a snowstorm," he said.
The Routt County Sheriff's Office and Steamboat Springs Police Department responded to weather-related accidents Monday, as well.
"What we saw yesterday was consistent with this time of the year. It wasn't too horrible," Un----dersheriff Dan Taylor said.
Police Capt. Joel Rae said officers responded to five car accidents, most two-vehicle, noninjury accidents, from about 11:50 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Every single one of the accidents was attributed to the slick conditions," he said.
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