Police concerned with number of traffic deaths


People who get behind the wheel can sometimes be stupid, Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Hank Chase said.

Dry roads, sometimes a couple of beers, and too few law enforcement officers to cover too many miles of highway gives drivers a confidence that has resulted in 10 fatal accidents since May 8 in the five counties Colorado State Patrol Troop 4B covers, Chase said.

That's a death every five days.

"That's a lot," Chase said. "People are stupid. They think they can drive however they want."

Of the 10 accidents, four occurred in Rio Blanco County, three in Grand County, two in Moffat County and one in Routt County. There were none in Jackson County.

"Probably 99 percent of the crashes can be avoided," Chase said. "That's why they're crashes and not accidents. An accident is an act of nature. It can't be avoided."

Albert C. Lawrence, of Springfield, Tenn., died this morning from injuries he suffered in an accident in Moffat County Thursday.

Lawrence was riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle north on Colorado Highway 13 when he hit and killed a deer that ran onto the road. Lawrence was thrown from the bike. He sustained massive, severe head injuries and was flown to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction.

He died at 6:50 a.m. today after being removed from life support Monday afternoon.

Lawrence was not wearing a helmet. He had a helmet attached to his motorcycle with a sticker on it that said "My life, my choice."

Two Craig residents were injured Sunday in a three-car accident 17 miles west of Kremmling on Colorado Highway 40. Mitchell Collins, 46, and his son, Ryan Collins, were driving a 1994 Chevrolet pickup west on Colorado Highway 40. Ryan Collins, who was driving, lost control of the vehicle and entered the eastbound lane and into a head-on collision with a 1997 Geo Prism driven by Randy Snyder, 35, of Kremmling, according to police. Colorado State Patrol Corporal David Batura said Ryan Collins had driven off the right side of the road and overcorrected.

A motorcycle driven by Allen Graham, 49, of Northglenn, Colo., rolled over while attempting to avoid the accident. Graham and his wife Maria Chacon, 47, were treated for minor injuries and released at the scene. Snyder was treated for injuries to his foot and Chacon with injuries to her hand.

Snyder was transported to St. Anthony's Hospital in Denver by Flight for Life where he died from internal injuries. He was wearing a seatbelt.

Ryan Collins was taken to Kremmling Memorial Hospital where he was treated for minor head injuries and released. His father was flown to St. Anthony's Hospital with internal injuries.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, alcohol was not a factor in the accident.

Ryan Collins was cited and the case is being is reviewed by the District Attorney. Batura said he expects him to be charged with careless driving causing death.

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