One person has died and others were taken to a hospital after a fiery head-on collision Wednesday morning on U.S. Highway 160 between Cortez and Mancos.
A 2017 white Chevy Trax and 2018 Chevy Express van collided head-on near mile marker 53, east of Mancos, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper James Proctor, who was at the scene.
The van, which was towing a trailer, erupted into flames. Debris was spread across the roadway.
According to information from a crash report released by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gary Cutler, the westbound Chevy Trax SUV “crossed into the eastbound lane” and collided with the eastbound van. The driver of the Chevy Trax, a 68-year-old woman from Mancos, died at the scene, he said. She was wearing her seat belt, and airbags deployed.
The case remains under investigation. Drugs, alcohol or excessive speed are not suspected in the crash. No citations were issued.
CSP did not release the name of the deceased victim, referring the inquiry to the Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers. Deavers said next of kin were still being notified, so the name would not be released yet. He said an autopsy will be conducted on the woman Friday.
Eleven people, including the driver, were traveling in the eastbound 2018 Chevy Express van. Cutler said the driver, Christopher G. Duffy, of Maryland, sustained serious injury from the crash and was taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital. A female passenger suffered minor injuries and also was transported. Both wore a seat belt, as were the other passengers.
Details leading up to the Chevy Trax crossing into the eastbound lane are not known at this time, Cutler said, and the investigation is ongoing.
The Colorado Department of Transportation reported on Twitter at 11:08 a.m. that the highway was closed to eastbound and westbound traffic. Traffic in both directions was diverted onto county roads and back onto the highway. All lanes were opened at 1:35 p.m., said CDOT spokeswoman Lisa Schwantes.
The collision occurred in front of the Cattle Drive Coffee shop. Owner Diane Davis said her husband, Glenn Davis, was at the shop at the time. He and another person pulled “young people” from the van as it began catch fire.
“It was a huge fire, and everybody got out,” she said.
Witnesses also attempted to assist the driver of the Chevy Trax, who died at the scene, Davis said.
Both vehicles sustained heavy damage and came to rest on the north shoulder of the highway.<![CDATA[
US 160 EB/WB: Road closed between County Road H and County Road 39. due to crash, alternate routes advised. https://t.co/CVHcTS97Ly— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) January 20, 2021
First responders included the Colorado State Patrol, Mancos Fire Protection District, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Montezuma County Coroner’s Office and CDOT.
This story will be updated when more information is available.