Rifle woman, Grand Junction man killed in wreck Saturday

Emergency headlights

A Rifle woman was killed in a head-on collision with a suspected drunk driver on Interstate 70 near New Castle on Saturday night.

Stephanie Hillian, 36 of Rifle, a loan officer at Alpine Bank in Willits, died after being transported to the hospital, according to CSP spokesperson Josh Lewis said.

The other driver, Mark Groff, 55 of Grand Junction, was declared dead at the scene.

I-70 was closed for a short time Saturday evening after the 8:30 p.m. crash.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, Groff may have been impaired by alcohol.

“Alcohol is being looked at as a possible factor,” Lewis said.

Groff was driving in a Hyundai heading eastbound on I-70 just east of New Castle when he collided with a guardrail. His car then crossed the median and collided with the front of Hillian’s Volkswagen.

“The Hyundai collided with the guardrail, then went through the eastbound lands, through the median, and into the westbound lane of traffic, at which point it ended up colliding with the front of the Volkswagen,” Lewis said.

Lewis said he did not have an estimated speed for Groff’s Hyundai. “It does not appear, initially, that speed is being considered a factor,” Lewis said.

No other vehicles were involved in the accident, Lewis said.

Hillian had been with Alpine Bank for five years, Willits branch manager Dan Markoya said, and was beloved by staff and customers.

“Whoever she came into contact with, she left a very positive impression on them,” Markoya said.

“She was a great employee at the bank, but an even better person.”

Markoya said he has received countless emails, phone calls and text messages with condolences to be passed to Hillian’s family.

“It just shows how great of a person she was,” Markoya said.

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