Thursday, September 6, 2007
Steamboat Springs A 91-year-old McCoy woman died Tuesday afternoon after her vehicle collided with a Yampa Valley Electric Association truck just north of the Eagle County border on Colorado Highway 131.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper J.D. Mitchell said Edith Kirby was driving a 2001 Ford Escort south on Colo. 131 when she collided with a 1999 F-450 Yampa Valley Electric Association truck driven by 27-year-old Jason Meints of Hayden.
Meints was attempting to turn left onto Colo. 131 from Routt County Road 1 at the time of the accident, Mitchell said.
Kirby, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died while being transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center, he said.
Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Kirby's preliminary cause of death is blunt force trauma to the head and chest, although an autopsy is pending.
A second 27-year-old Yampa Valley Electric Association employee was in the truck at the time of the accident. Meints and that employee were not injured, Mitchell said. Both men were wearing their seatbelts, he said.
Meints was charged with careless driving causing death and failing to yield the right-of-way, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said there's a stop sign at the intersection of C.R. 1 and Colo. 131, but he didn't know whether Meints ran the stop sign or came to a stop before proceeding onto the highway.
"I don't have any evidence to show whether he did or did not stop at the stop sign," he said Wednesday. "What we have is information that he didn't yield the right of way when he left that stop sign."
Ramona Kirby of Toponas was Edith Kirby's sister-in-law for 59 years.
On Wednesday, Kirby remembered Edith as an independent, generous woman - and her children's favorite aunt.
"She was well-liked and well-loved by all her friends and family," Ramona said.
Ramona said she first met Edith during World War II when they were at a dance in Yampa. Both were high schoolers at the time.
"When I first saw her for the first time, I thought to myself, 'That's the prettiest girl I've ever seen,'" she said.
Edith was an avid community volunteer and determined rancher, she said.
"She was just as good as any man on a ranch. When it came to haying, that's where she'd be," Ramona said.
Ramona said Edith was a "few days shy" of turning 92.
"She had a very good life," she added.
Jim Chappell, a YVEA spokesman, said the company could not discuss the incident because it is a personnel matter. Chappell confirmed that the men were working line maintenance on Antelope Road on Tuesday.
YVEA is conducting its own investigation of the accident, he said.
Chappell said YVEA trucks occasionally are involved in minor, noninjury accidents, but that the company hasn't been involved in a fatal accident since 1968.
"This is the first major accident we've had involving a YVEA truck in a long time," he said.