I-70 turns deadly | PostIndependent.com

I-70 turns deadly

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Firefighters rescue a person from a wrecked car along the bank of the Colorado River following a three car accident Friday evening on Interstate 70.

One person was killed and others were injured in a pair of unrelated accidents that closed eastbound Interstate 70 Friday in the Glenwood Springs area.The driver has been charged with vehicular homicide in the fatal wreck, which occurred late Thursday evening but resulted in the closure of the highway during the morning commute Friday.The second accident took place Friday evening in West Glenwood and caused one serious injury, while causing a vehicle to go off I-70 and down to the bank of the Colorado River.

Others involved in the second accident suffered less serious injuries, Glenwood Springs police chief Terry Wilson said.Benjamin Waters, 20, of Shetler, Okla., was being held in Garfield County Jail in lieu of $18,500 bond in connection with Thursday’s wreck, which occurred in the Canyon Creek area. He was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence, careless driving causing bodily injury, no proof of insurance, not having a valid driver’s license, and possession of drug paraphernalia and under an ounce of marijuana.Angela Marie Johnson, 20, of Tahlequah, Okla., died at the scene of the accident, the Colorado State Patrol reported. She wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.Johnson had been living temporarily in the Glenwood area with Waters, her boyfriend, who had come to Garfield County for work.

The two were headed east at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday in a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup on I-70 when the vehicle skidded out of control on the sharp curve at Canyon Creek. It struck several sections of guardrail, causing significant damage to the guardrail and vehicle, the CSP reported. The vehicle then rolled over the south guardrail and rolled 312 times down the hillside toward the Colorado River, coming to rest on its roof on the embankment.Waters was treated at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs for moderate to minor injuries before being jailed.The accident initially resulted in closure of just the right lane of eastbound I-70. However, authorities closed both eastbound lanes from New Castle to the Canyon Creek interchange from 6:45 a.m. until about 9:15 a.m. Friday to allow for the accident scene investigation to be completed and for the pickup to be recovered and the highway cleaned of debris. Eastbound traffic was diverted onto Highway 6 from New Castle to Canyon Creek during the closure.

The State Patrol reported that roadway conditions were good during the crash, and that high speed was believed to have contributed to it. The speed limit drops from 75 mph to 65 mph at the eastbound curve at Canyon Creek, but caution signs recommend driving at 55 mph.Friday’s accident occurred just before 6 p.m., east of the West Glenwood interchange. Based on the initial investigation, Wilson said two vehicles were going west on I-70 when the one in the passing lane headed into the right lane and clipped the other one, sending it out of control into the eastbound lanes. There it struck an eastbound vehicle.One of the vehicles ended up going through the guardrail on the south side of I-70 and down to the riverbank.Wilson did not have immediate information available Friday on the accident victims’ names and hometowns, or on how many people were injured. The most seriously injured victim was being treated at Valley View but faced possible transfer to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.

The accident closed eastbound I-70 for several hours Friday evening, forcing traffic to be detoured onto Highway 6.Wilson said there had been no decisions on charges as of early Friday evening, and he didn’t yet know if speed or alcohol were factors.Post Independent staff writer April Clark contributed to this report.

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