CAHONE – The driver of a 1997 Jeep Cherokee was killed Tuesday morning on U.S. Highway 491 just south of Cahone in a failed attempt to pass two semitrailers during a snowstorm.
The Cherokee driver was identified as Franklin Grooms, 59, of Cortez on Wednesday by the Colorado State Patrol.
The accident occurred about 10:09 a.m., said Colorado State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll.
The Cherokee was northbound and was attempting to pass two semitrailers when it was hit head-on by a Western Star semitrailer out of Utah at mile marker 51 on U.S. 491, Driscoll said.
Grooms was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the semi, Silverio Ortiz-Arredondo, 54, of Vernal, Utah, suffered minor injuries and was treated and released. He was not cited, Driscoll said.
Snow fell most of the day Tuesday, but Driscoll said it was not a major factor in the crash. Roads were wet and slick, and visibility was diminished during the snowstorm, according to the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office.
Besides the CSP, the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office, the Dove Creek Volunteer Fire Department and the Dolores County Coroner’s Office responded.
Initially, traffic was blocked by the crash. Later Tuesday afternoon, traffic was confined to one lane of traffic alternating in both directions.
A crew worked Tuesday evening to remove both vehicles, which left the road and tumbled down an embankment on the west side of the highway just south of Cahone.