A portion of U.S. Highway 160 south of Cortez closed Monday afternoon after a head-on collision between a semitrailer and a pickup truck.
Both drivers were transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital, and the pickup driver was airlifted out.
The crash occurred about 2 p.m. just north of the intersection of County Road 21 and U.S. 160.
The northbound semitrailer, which carried gravel, overturned, spilling the gravel and blocking the southbound lane. The pickup went off the road on the east shoulder and had a wheel sheared off.
The driver of the pickup, Stanley Mathies, was cited for careless driving causing bodily injury, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper James Saunders. Witnesses said he drifted into the oncoming lane and collided with the semitrailer, which tried to get out of the way, but could not.
After arriving at Southwest Memorial, Mathies was airlifted by helicopter to another hospital, Saunders said, but no further information was available. The driver of semitrailer was transported by Southwest Health System ambulance to Southwest Memorial Hospital.
The section of highway where the accident occurred was closed as emergency crews responded. Northbound and southbound traffic was diverted to County Roads 21 and B.
Montezuma County Sheriff Deputy Justen Goodall, who was on patrol in the area, said he witnessed the head-on collision, but the Colorado State Patrol handled the investigation.
“We were a few cars back when it happened, so we stopped traffic and focused on assisting the crash victims,” he said.
The semitrailer driver was assisted out of the crushed cab by Cortez Fire Protection District crews, and Mathies was seen standing outside his pickup before being loaded into the ambulance. Both drivers were reportedly wearing their seat belts, and the airbags in the pickup truck deployed.
Responding agencies included Cortez Fire Protection District, Southwest Health System ambulance, Ute Mountain Rescue, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation.
The highway reopened at 4:15 p.m.