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Drugs or alcohol suspected in deadly head-on crash Friday along Colorado Highway 172

Durango woman pronounced dead on scene, others airlifted to Albuquerque hospital
A fatal head-on collision that occurred shortly after 5 p.m. Friday on Colorado Highway 172 near mile marker 21 and Durango-La Plata County Airport backed up traffic in both directions for hours. Colorado State Patrol Capt. John Trentini said he was working phones until about midnight trying to get notifications out to the public to avoid traveling the route if possible. (Christian Burney/Durango Herald)

The Colorado State Patrol suspects alcohol or drug use is a factor in a car crash Friday that resulted in the death of a Durango woman and serious injuries to several others, including two young children.

Jessie Marie Young, 30, died on scene of a head-on crash on Colorado Highway 172 near mile marker 21 near the Durango-La Plata County Airport, said Jann Smith, La Plata County coroner.

Two young children and several young men suffered serious injuries, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gabriel Moltrer said Saturday. A Flight For Life helicopter was dispatched from Mercy Hospital to the scene and took several victims to a hospital in Albuquerque.

Young was driving a Kia southwest on Highway 172 with two passengers, a 7-year-old boy and a 1-year-old boy, when the vehicle traveled into the northbound lane and collided head-on with a Chevrolet Silverado occupied by a driver and two passengers, Moltrer said.

The driver of the Chevrolet Silverado is 22 years old and suffered serious injuries, he said. He had two male passengers, a 29-year-old who also received serious injuries, and a 21-year-old who had moderate injuries.

CSP Capt. John Trentini said he believes the driver of the Chevrolet Silverado incurred life-threatening injuries.

Young was not using her seat belt, Moltrer said. The 7-year-old was buckled into a booster seat and the 1-year-old was also fastened into a rear-facing child seat.

The driver of the Chevrolet Silverado was using his seat belt, he said, although it’s unknown if his passengers used theirs.

CSP suspects drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, but excessive speed is not considered a factor at this time, he said. Moltrer said he cannot identify which driver or passengers are suspected of drug or alcohol use.

Trentini said he is unaware of specifics, but given the nature of the crash, some sort of extrication method, such as Jaws of Life (hydraulic rescue tools such as spreaders or cutters), were used to remove victims from the vehicles.


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