Two teenagers face charges of street racing and reckless driving after a three-vehicle crash at Main Street and Mildred Road in Cortez.
Street racing by two drivers was a contributing factor, said Lt. Andy Brock, of the Cortez Police Department.
Three people were transported by ambulance to Southwest Memorial Hospital, but they were not seriously injured, he said.
The crash involved a Honda sedan, a BMW crossover and a Ford pickup with New Mexico plates.
The Honda and BMW were westbound on East Main Street when the BMW hit the passenger side of the Ford pickup, which was turning left onto Mildred from eastbound Main Street, said Patrol Sgt. Brent Jarmon, of the Cortez Police Department.
The driver of the BMW crossover, Kaleb Barkhurst, 18, was cited for engaging in a speed contest and reckless driving, said Brock. The driver of the Honda sedan, Clemeaton Benally, 18, was cited for engaging in a speed contest, reckless driving, driving on instruction permit without an adult, driving with expired plates and driving with no insurance.
Conviction on engaging in a speed contest offense is a 12-point deduction against a driver’s license, Brock said. Reckless driving carries an 8-point deduction.
“It was a horrible crash, and we are very grateful no one was injured or killed,” Brock said. “One passenger was unconscious after the crash.”
According to the investigation and witnesses, Barkhurst and Benally were allegedly racing each other before the collision, Brock said. He said speeds were estimated to be 20 mph over the 35 mph speed limit.
The driver of the truck was turning left on either a green arrow or a flashing yellow signal, Brock said, and was not cited because of the excessive speed factor of the oncoming cars.
Airbags deployed in the Ford and BMW vehicles, and debris was strewn across the intersection.
The pickup and BMW sustained significant damage, and the BMW caught fire.
Brock said civilians grabbed a fire extinguisher and put the fire out, and also pulled people from the car.
The Honda received a glancing blow in the crash, and the driver was not injured.
The driver of the truck and two passengers in the BMW were transported to the hospital by ambulance, Brock said.
A long skid mark was visible in the westbound lane of Main Street approaching the intersection.
Traffic was backed up on Main Street in both directions, and the eastbound lane was blocked by the wreckage.
First responders attended to three patients at the scene, including one on the lawn of the Cortez Welcome Center.
All three were loaded onto a Southwest Health System ambulance in stretchers.
Multiple agencies responded, including the Cortez Police Department, Cortez Fire Protection District, Southwest Health System Ambulance and the Colorado State Patrol.