Truck driver cited in I-70 crash in Glenwood Canyon
Post Independent Editor
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A truck driver was cited for careless driving after the semi he was driving rolled onto its side on westbound I-70 early Friday, blocking both westbound lanes of traffic in Glenwood Canyon.
The truck driver, Stephen James Beach, age and residence unknown, was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs following the 1:45 a.m. crash with moderate, but not life-threatening, injuries, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Graham Thorne.
Speed and fatigue are believed to be possible factors in the crash, he said.
Thorne said the truck’s load shifted as Beach drove into a right curve just west of the Hanging Lake Tunnel, milepost 125.6, causing the entire rig to roll onto its left side.
Westbound traffic was blocked for eight hours while the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the state patrol’s Hazardous Materials Unit worked to clean up the mess.
One lane of westbound I-70 reopened at 9:45 a.m. Friday, eight hours after the accident. By 10:30 a.m., the traffic backlog was largely cleared out, and traffic was moving slowly through the crash zone.
Among the westbound vehicles trapped behind the accident was the newspaper delivery truck carrying the Friday editions of the Post Independent and the Aspen Times to Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Valley from the printing plant in Gypsum.
Thorne reported that the semi was carrying 11 3,800-pound bags of aluminum shavings. In the accident, the truck’s fuel tanks were damaged, spilling about 70 gallons of diesel onto the roadway.
To bring the rig upright, CDOT and Blaine Ward Towing crews had to unload the large bags from the trailer. In the process, several of the bags burst open and emptied aluminum shavings onto the roadway, Thorne reported, complicating the site cleanup.
Cleanup of the remainder of the roadway was finished by 1 p.m. Friday, according to Ashley Mohr, spokeswoman for CDOT.
Assisting with the incident were the Glenwood Springs Fire Department and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department.
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