Heart attack might have caused Glenwood man’s car accident
A Glenwood Springs resident who had a car accident along Highway 82 in the midvalley Thursday died of a heart attack but an investigator said it is uncertain if the medical problem caused the crash.
Jose Ulloa-Martinez, 56, was driving east or upvalley when his car went off the side of the road, down a small embankment and came to rest against a tree, according to Bonnie Collins, an accident reconstructionist with the Colorado State Patrol. The crash occurred at about 7 a.m. at Emma Curve, between mile markers 21 and 22.
“It’s been confirmed by a doctor that it was a medical-caused death,” Collins said. “The doctor said it was a heart attack but I can’t tell if it occurred before, after or during the crash.”
Ulloa-Martinez suffered a “slight abrasion” from the accident but it was not life threatening, Collins said. He was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident.
An ambulance crew from Basalt Fire Department found the man unresponsive and performed CPR. “They actually did get a heartbeat and transported him to a hospital,” said Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson.
Collins said Ulloa-Martinez was declared dead at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs where life-saving efforts continued but were unsuccessful.
One lane of upvalley Highway 82 was closed during the rescue and investigation by the Colorado State Patrol. All lanes were reopened by 11 a.m.
Morning commuters were traveling slow at the time of the accident because of icy and snowpacked conditions. Traffic stacked up in the eastbound lane during the investigation. Some impatient commuters pulled U-turns on the highway, backtracked to Two Rivers Road and drove through Basalt to try to save time. A reporter witnessed two vehicles making unsafe U-turns by pulling in front of downvalley-bound traffic, but no other crashes were reported.
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