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August 24, 2014
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2 die in separate crashes on 82 and 133

The identities of two people who were killed in separate Pitkin County accidents on Saturday have yet to be officially released.

Pitkin County Coroner Steve Ayers said his office likely would issue a news release with the names sometime on Monday. One was a 21-year-old Illinois woman who died in a two-vehicle, head-on crash on Highway 133 north of Redstone around 9 p.m., according the Colorado State Patrol.

“We know who she is, but her family is flying in [on Monday afternoon], and we want to wait until they are here to confirm it,” Ayers said.

The other fatality involved a 53-year-old Aspen man who was driving a motorcycle on Highway 82 near Basalt around 5 p.m. when he was struck head-on by a Ford station wagon driven by John Walls, 88, of Carbondale, the State Patrol said.

“We’ll conduct a full autopsy and will release the name as soon as we have something firm,” Ayers said.

Walls was arrested and faces three charges: careless driving causing death, reckless endangerment and a traffic-lane violation. A Pitkin County jailer said Walls was released from custody on Sunday afternoon after posting $2,000 bond. His first court appearance has been set for Sept. 16.

A public information officer for the State Patrol said Saturday that initial reports indicate Walls’ vehicle, a 2003 Ford Focus, was traveling eastbound when it crossed over into the westbound lane near mile-marker 22 one mile west of Basalt and hit the motorcycle, a red 2002 Ducati.

The accident occurred about 90 minutes after persistent showers eased in the midvalley. Downvalley traffic was routed for about four hours onto Basalt Avenue and Two Rivers Road. Upvalley traffic was unaffected.

Walls was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs with minor injuries.

As for the crash near Redstone on Highway 133 later in the night, the State Patrol said evidence suggests that a 2010 Honda hatchback was traveling northbound on Highway 133 and crossed into the southbound lane. The Honda then struck a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier head-on near mile-marker 56, police said.

The woman from Illinois was driving the Chevy, and was pronounced dead on the scene. Her male passenger, along with the driver of the Honda — a 46-year-old Basalt woman — were transported to Valley View Hospital with serious injuries, police said.

Neither alcohol nor drugs are being considered as contributing factors in the Highway 133 crash, police said. The road was closed for approximately two hours because of the crash. It was dry and the weather was clear at the time of the accident.

No other details on either incident were available early Sunday evening.

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The Post Independent Updated Aug 24, 2014 09:04PM Published Aug 25, 2014 05:34PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.