On Tuesday morning, a driver on Colorado Highway 145 crashed into the Dolores River just a few miles from a similar crash eight days earlier.
According to Colorado State Patrol Sgt. James Saunders, Travis Brewer, of Montrose, was traveling northbound about 4 a.m. Tuesday when he fell asleep at the wheel and drifted off the highway at mile marker 31.
The 2006 Volvo rolled 30 feet down a steep embankment and came to rest on its side in the Dolores River. The vehicle had broken through the ice and was partly submerged.
“Due to minimal traffic, he was there a couple of hours before the accident was reported, and had put on layers of clothing to stay warm,” Saunders said.
Brewer was cited for careless driving and was uninjured. He was wearing his seatbelt, and front and side airbags deployed. According to the report, he was driving home from a casino, and was looking for a place to pull over.
“When tired while driving, never push it,” said Saunders. “When you feel the first nod coming on, get to a safe spot and get some rest.”
The Rico Fire Department and Colorado State Patrol responded to the accident about 6:20 a.m. The Southwest Health System ambulance was dispatched to the scene, but Brewer declined treatment. He was taken to the Rico Fire Station to warm up and wait for a ride.
Traffic was delayed and allowed through on an alternating basis while a tow truck from R and R Cattle winched the vehicle out of the river.
On Jan. 1, at mile marker 28 of Colorado 145, a southbound truck lost control in snowpacked conditions and plunged 80 feet into the frozen Dolores River. The four occupants escaped and one suffered minor injury.