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One killed, another in critical condition after crash on U.S. Highway 550 north of Durango

Head-on collision occurred Sunday night near Hermosa
Passersby use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire and assist victims in a head-on car crash Sunday evening on U.S. Highway 550 near mile marker 31 in the Hermosa area. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

A Durango man died and a Durango woman was in critical condition after a head-on crash Sunday on U.S. Highway 550 north of Durango.

The crash was reported at 7:10 p.m. near mile marker 31, just south of the Speedway gas station in Hermosa, said Trooper Uriah Talbot with the Colorado State Patrol.

The driver killed in the crash was identified as Eric Mytko, 44. He died early Monday at the hospital, Talbot said.

Mytko was driving south when his blue Subaru Outback crossed into oncoming traffic, striking a white Chevy Trax SUV, which was traveling north, Talbot said.

The Trax was being driven by Kristine Styers, 54. Styers was flown to a Denver hospital, where she remained in critical condition Tuesday evening, according to a spokesman for UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

It is unknown why Mytko crossed into oncoming traffic, Talbot said. Styers swerved right to try to avoid the impact, but it was not enough and the two vehicles collided about 1½ feet right of the fog line on the northbound shoulder, he said.

Speed, alcohol and drugs are not suspected factors in the crash.

Both vehicles were traveling about 55 mph at the point of impact; there was no braking by either vehicle, Talbot said.

“We don’t really know why he crossed in that lane at this time,” he said. “We’re still investigating.”

Highway 550 was shut down for about 1½ hours while emergency responders investigated and cleared the scene. Traffic was rerouted on county roads 203 and 250.

shane@durangoherald.com

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