Two people were injured Friday afternoon in a collision at the intersection of U.S. Highway 160 and County Road 34, about a mile from the entrance to Mesa Verde National Park.
The Colorado State Patrol, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Mancos and Cortez fire departments and Southwest Health ambulances were called to the intersection about 2 p.m. in response to a two-vehicle crash. One person was extricated by rescue crews, according to Cortez Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Bittle. A Flight for Life helicopter arrived at the scene about 3 p.m., but Mancos firefighter Ray Aspromonte said both patients were transported by ambulance to Southwest Memorial Hospital.
State Patrol Capt. Adrian Driscoll identified the drivers as Gene Hughes, 71, of Montezuma County, and Brandon Pino, 25, of New Mexico. Hughes was reportedly turning left onto eastbound U.S. 160 in a white Hyundai when Pino, who was westbound in a black Chevy, T-boned his vehicle.
Cortez and Mancos firefighters helped to remove Hughes from the vehicle.
Hughes was transported to the hospital in critical condition. Driscoll said he wasn’t sure how badly Pino was injured.
About 2:30 p.m., Bittle said the highway was closed in both directions at the intersection, but at 2:51 p.m. scanner chatter revealed only one lane remained closed. Traffic began to move freely in all lanes about 3:30 p.m.
Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin said deputies conducted traffic control just after the accident.
Driscoll said most of his troopers were busy responding to the 416 Fire, 10 miles north of Durango, so troopers from Montrose were investigating the crash site, about halfway between Cortez and Mancos.
The crash remains under investigation, and Driscoll said he wasn’t sure whether charges would be filed against the drivers.
This article was reposted June 2 to correct information about the drivers in the crash.