A 50-year-old man from Cortez has been identified as the driver who died Sunday after his vehicle collided with a Colorado Department of Transportation snowplow near Dolores.
The Colorado State Patrol said Dennis Wilson was traveling toward Dolores on Colorado Highway 184 from Mancos when he lost control of his 2003 Dodge 2500 and hit the snowplow head-on.
Wilson was taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez, but died either on the way or at the hospital, said Colorado State Patrol spokesman Nate Reid.
The driver of the CDOT snowplow, 68-year old Edward Lewis, of Mancos, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. He was released Sunday.
According to Reid, Wilson was northbound on Colorado 184 about 1:45 p.m., and as he entered a shallow curve, lost control of the vehicle and crossed into the southbound lane. Reid said there was slush on the northbound lane that likely contributed to the loss of control. Wilson crashed head-on with the driver’s side of the snowplow, which was removing snow and slush from the southbound lane.
Wilson was not wearing a seat belt, Reid said. Wilson was the only person in the Dodge pickup, and Reid was unsure if a seat belt would have saved his life.
During the crash Wilson’s small dog, Whizzer, was thrown from the truck and was later found injured. It was taken in by a nearby family and then taken to Vibrant Pet in Cortez, where it was treated for a concussion and pain and kept in a warm room overnight. Wilson’s family took the dog home, but it later had to be put down because of its injuries.
According to his former wife, Theresa Wilson, Wilson had four children and nine grandchildren. She said Wilson, a Colorado native who spent most his life in Grand Junction, moved to Cortez about a year ago to be closer to family.
Dennis and Theresa were married 30 years before they separated about a year ago.
“He was a very sweet gentleman, loving, caring,” Theresa Wilson said. “He had his faults, but he was a devoted father and grandfather, and took pride in what he did.”
His family said Dennis Wilson had spent the day at his son Ben’s house in Mancos, visiting his five grandchildren.
“He sat on the couch with the grandkids, watching a movie and playing with the dog,” said Ben Wilson, 28. “He said he wanted to get out of the house for a bit, and he left in good spirits. He was a good dad.”
Dennis Wilson II, 30, who lived near his father in Cortez, said the two had coffee every morning, and during free time, would golf, go four-wheeling and watch football together.
“He was good at what he did,” said Dennis, referring to his father’s career in tile work. “And he loved his family.”
Reporter Jim Mimiaga, of The (Cortez) Journal, acontributed to this article.