Woman from Los Angeles in critical condition; mother is stable
December 24, 2009
Steamboat Springs — A mother and daughter visiting Steamboat Springs remained hospitalized Thursday after being hurt in a two-vehicle car crash Wednesday evening on Routt County Road 129 near Downhill Drive.
A 39-year-old Los Angeles woman was listed in critical condition in a Denver hospital, her mother told Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Rich Brown. The mother, 69, from Tampa, Fla., was in stable condition Thursday after having surgery on her leg Wednesday night, Officer Nick Moore said. Police said they couldn't release the names of the two women because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy restrictions.
Police were called to the crash at about 5 p.m. Wednesday. Brown and Moore said the two women were passengers in a Vista Verde Ranch Chevrolet Suburban that collided with a Ford pickup. Based on interviews with the drivers, Moore said the Suburban was traveling "too fast for conditions" north on C.R. 129. He said the SUV began to fishtail into the southbound lane with the passenger side facing the oncoming Ford, which struck the Suburban.
"Despite both drivers' best efforts, they collided, causing significant damage and totaling both vehicles," Moore said. "Due to cold weather and the winter storm, road conditions (Wednesday) night were extremely slick. It was a matter of speed that led to the accident, which unfortunately caused some significant injuries to the parties involved."
He said the drivers of the Suburban and pickup complained about minor injuries, were taken to the hospital as a precaution and later released. Moore said he would not provide the names of the drivers because the investigation is ongoing.
He said the driver of the Suburban is an employee of Vista Verde and also lives there. He said the driver of the pickup is a woman from South Routt. Moore said alcohol is not suspected as a factor in the wreck, but the driver of the Suburban was issued a citation for careless driving.
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"Things may change depending on outcome of investigation and severity of injuries," Moore said. "We should have a better idea in the next three or four days."
Brown said there were many other wrecks Wednesday in Steamboat, but none causing significant injuries. Area law enforcement agencies filed 16 car accident reports. Police filed eight, the Routt County Sheriff's Office filed three, the Colorado State Patrol filed three, and the Hayden Police Department filed two.
"In the ones that I handled," Brown said, "people were definitely driving too fast for the conditions. It's very slick out, and there's a lot of traffic with the holidays. There's more traffic than we normally experience. I think it's a combination of all of those things — the treacherous roads and all the people out on those roads."
He said there were only three officers working the day shift Wednesday, and there were so many accidents that the department went on "Accident Alert." That means if a crash doesn't involve injuries or alcohol, Routt County Dispatch will ask callers to file a report at the police station if officers are too busy to respond, Brown said.
In addition to the crashes, police arrested two people on suspicion of driving under the influence, and Sheriff's Office deputies arrested one.