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Truck hits woman

Heidi Rice

RIFLE – A 36-year-old Rifle woman was in critical condition at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction Wednesday night after a tractor-trailer struck her earlier that morning.A southbound tractor-trailer struck Valerie G. Phillips at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday morning while she attempted to cross the Colorado Highway 13 bypass about two-tenths of a mile north of Highway 6, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The accident closed the bypass route for most of the day.George Haddenham, 67, of Vernal, Utah, was driving the 2000 Kenworth tractor.After impact, Phillips came to rest in the left northbound lane, while the tractor-trailer came to a stop partially on the paved shoulder of the road facing south.Phillips was taken to the Grand River Medical Center and later flown to St. Mary’s in Grand Junction with serious injuries. Haddenham was wearing his seat belt and was not injured in the crash.Highway 13 was closed in both directions after the accident, except for large tractor-trailers. All other traffic was diverted to Railroad Avenue. Haddenham’s trailer was loaded with pipe that shifted and traveled through the cab, narrowly missing him. As a result, the trailer had to be unloaded and loaded onto another trailer with a crane before the road could reopen to normal traffic.The Highway 13 bypass reopened early Wednesday evening.The accident is still under investigation, but neither speed nor alcohol appears to be factors in the crash. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Rifle Fire Department, Rifle Ambulance, the Colorado Department of Transportation and Blain West Towing assisted state patrol.


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