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Two drivers die in collision after one hits deer south of Cortez

Vehicles collide after first one hits deer on U.S. 160

Two people were killed Sunday night in a two-vehicle crash after one vehicle hit a deer on U.S. Highway 160 south of Cortez, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

About 9:20 p.m. Sunday, a black 2013 Chevrolet Sonic driven by Santana Smith was westbound at mile marker 32 when she hit a deer that had run into the roadway.

The vehicle crossed into the oncoming lane and struck the front end of an eastbound white 2014 Chevrolet Sonic driven by Debra L. Chovan, according to the State Patrol incident report.

Chovan, 57, of Hesperus and Smith, 37, of Towaoc died at the scene.

Neither driver was wearing a seat belt, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Air bags deployed in both vehicles.

Four passengers in the vehicle driven by Smith were taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital with injuries including broken limbs, said Sgt. Nathan Lyons.

Three juveniles in the back of the black Sonic — a 3-year old, 12-year-old and 13-year-old – were not wearing seat belts. An adult male in the front passenger seat was wearing a seat belt.

There were no passengers in the white Sonic.

Drugs and alcohol use were not suspected, and weather and excessive speed were not factors, Lyons said.

“It was a terrible accident,” he said.

The highway was closed from 9:30 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. in both directions. Drivers were detoured onto county roads.

This story was updated to clarify that neither driver was wearing a seat belt, according to the Colorado State Patrol.