Steamboat briefs for Dec. 19

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Accident blocks U.S. 40 between Hayden and Craig

A three-vehicle pileup snarled traffic between Hayden and Craig for 2 1/2 hours Thursday afternoon, and both lanes were fully reopened shortly before 6 p.m., according to the Colorado State Patrol.

The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. near mile marker 101, between the rest stop and the railroad crossing on U.S. Highway 40, Sgt. Scott Elliott said.

A 2001 Ford Explorer heading west lost control because the driver was speeding on icy, snowy roads, Elliott said. The SUV slammed into the side of a 2008 Peterbilt hauling an empty tanker, then went off the road, coming to a rest east of the highway, Elliott said.

Only seconds after the initial crash, a 2007 Pontiac, also heading west, lost control and struck the semitrailer stopped in the eastbound lane, Elliott said.

Because of the poor road conditions, damaged vehicles blocking the eastbound lane and emergency vehicle traffic, U.S. 40 mostly was closed until the crash was cleared at about 6 p.m. Emergency responders occasionally were able to open up the westbound lane and allow a few vehicles at a time to get through.

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