A plow truck makes its way along River Road south east of Steamboat Springs on Monday morning. Slippery, snow-covered roads resulted in numerous accidents during the morning's commute.

Photo by John F. Russell

A plow truck makes its way along River Road south east of Steamboat Springs on Monday morning. Slippery, snow-covered roads resulted in numerous accidents during the morning's commute.

Crash kills Craig woman

Icy morning conditions keep law enforcement busy

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— A Craig woman died Monday morning when her car skidded into oncoming traffic and was hit by another car driven by a Steamboat man, who was in stable condition at Yampa Valley Medical Center as of Monday evening.

Colorado State Patrol would not release the names of either driver while attempts were being made to notify their families. Trooper Kirk Gardner investigated the crash, which occurred at about 7:55 a.m. near mile marker 119 on U.S. Highway 40 in rural Routt County. There was light to moderate snowfall at that time, according to Colorado State Patrol, and the road was covered in snow.

"The icy roads were a factor," Sgt. Scott Elliott said. "I don't know if it was the primary cause."

The Craig woman was driving a Honda Accord eastbound, and the Steamboat man was westbound in a Toyota Corolla station wagon.

The Accord began to rotate counterclockwise while exiting a left-hand curve and skidded into the westbound lane, where it was struck by the Corolla. The Craig woman died of her injuries at the scene.

The crash was one of many in the Steamboat area yesterday morning. Routt County Sheriff's Office Investigator Ken Klinger said accidents were being reported at a "pretty brisk rate" Monday morning after overnight and morning snowfall in the county. Klinger said there had been "a bunch" of fender benders and a rollover without injuries, in addition to the crash that killed the Craig woman.

"Typically, the first snow with ice on the bottom of it - which is what we had this morning - people forget how to drive," Klinger said. "It's only been a year, but they forget."

Elliott said the State Patrol also handled several accidents Monday, most of which were minor. Steamboat Springs Police Captain Joel Rae said there had been three accidents in the city as of Monday evening, two of which were hit and runs. None of the accidents in Steamboat resulted in any injuries, Rae said.

Rae said an increasing number of accidents should be expected as winter progresses.

"There's accidents all the time throughout the course of the winter," he said.

Klinger said that while accidents continue, the pace might drop off as drivers get more accustomed to wintry road conditions.

"It will eventually settle down," he said.

Rae stressed safe driving practices such as slowing down and increasing following distance; he noted that most accidents are avoidable, even in bad conditions.

"I think they're all preventable," Rae said. "Taking (drivers') time would prevent most of the accidents."

- To reach Brandon Gee, call 871-4210

or e-mail bgee@steamboatpilot.com

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