Two head-on collisions occurred Sunday, one on Highway 160 near Mile Marker 37, and the other in Mesa Verde National Park.
Cortez Police Department Lt. Andy Brock said officers responded to the accident on Highway 160 at 1:35 p.m. Sunday, April 13, after 18-year-old Orlando Arviso of Cortez lost control of his southbound GMC pickup. Brock said the truck had poor tires, and slid off the road.
“The driver of the truck tried to correct,” Brock said. “The truck was sideways crossing the center line when they hit head-on.”
“Road conditions were an issue,” Brock said.
According to Brock, 70-year-old Thomas Reed of Ouray, who suffered minor injuries, drove the northbound vehicle, a red Honda; his 71-year-old wife, Linda, a front-seat passenger, suffered a spinal injury and was airlifted to Grand Junction; and a 69-year-old female passenger in the back seat, Virginia Ficco, remained in intensive care at Southwest Memorial Hospital as of press time Monday.
“It was a really bad wreck,” a Colorado State Patrol official said.
Arviso was cited with careless driving causing serious bodily harm. Brock said alcohol was not suspected, but officials are awaiting blood test results.
Cortez Fire Chief Jeff Vandevoorde said firefighters responded to 2110 S. Broadway at 1:36 p.m. on Sunday in connection to the accident. Vandevoorde said the pickup truck flipped over and landed on top of the car near the White Eagle Inn.
“The roads got pretty nasty for a while (Sunday) with all that sleet and hail,” Vandevoorde said.
According to fire reports, the jaws of life were required to extract the three passengers trapped inside the car.
“No deaths were reported at the scene, but there were some serious injuries,” Vandevoorde said.
The accident, at Mesa Verde National Park, was completely handled by rangers, according to state police. Attempts to reach park officials for details were unsuccessful as of press time.