Police responded to a two-vehicle crash that claimed one life on U.S. 160 on the afternoon of Dec. 31. The Colorado State Patrol has confirmed that the accident, like most fatal car accidents, is still under investigation by accident specialists. For the moment, no charges have been filed against anyone involved, but the investigation may turn up cause for criminal charges at a later time.
According to the limited information available in the report, it appears that around 1 p.m., the accident involved a pickup truck driven by a Colorado resident and a sedan with plates from Arizona. The accident took place about four miles south of Cortez on U.S. 160/491. The details of the crash have not been reported at this time, but it has been confirmed that a male occupant of the sedan suffered major injuries and was killed in the crash. That individual has not been identified pending notification of next-of-kin.
An occupant of the pickup truck was taken to a local hospital. Police say that individual’s condition is not known at this time. It was not clear whether anyone else was involved in the crash. Based on the pattern of damage to both vehicles, it appears the crash may have been head-on. Both vehicles went off the west side of the highway, according to witnesses.
Car accidents causing fatalities do not always result in criminal charges being filed. However, even if Colorado police choose not to charge either driver involved, legal recourse is still available to the victims and/or their families. State law allows civil suits including personal injury and wrongful death to be filed against the driver or drivers whose negligence materially contributed to the crash. Evidence of their contribution is a necessary part of this process.