Probe of deadly crash continues


The two elderly women who died in a car wreck east of Hayden on Sunday were on their way to a high school graduation in Utah, relatives said.
Julia Irene Williams, 85, and Ida Hall, 63, planned to stop in Craig to visit Williams' grandson Daniel Johnson. They then planned to drive to Salt Lake City to see Williams' great-granddaughter graduate.
The two women were neighbors from Aurora who made the road trip together.
Two miles east of Hayden, the Honda Civic the women were riding in veered into the oncoming eastbound lane and struck a Subaru Forester driven by Hunter Seim, 35, of Craig.
Seim and his son, Wyatt, 3, were taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center. Hunter Seim was kept overnight for evaluation, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Wyatt Seim was treated for minor injuries and released.
The State Patrol is investigating witness reports that Hall was driving erratically for miles before the fatal crash.
Colorado State Patrol Capt. Gary Torgerson said witnesses told officers the car's speed fluctuated between about 40 mph and 60 mph. At times, the car drifted onto the shoulder and also crossed the centerline, Torgerson said.
Torgerson said the reports indicate the driver may have been falling asleep or suffering from a medical condition.
"We're not exactly sure what caused her to drive that way, but we're trying to figure that out," Torgerson said. "We're hoping the coroner can answer a lot of those questions."
Sunday's accident was the only fatal crash in Torgerson's five-county jurisdiction during the busy holiday weekend.
For seven straight days, troopers across the state created a presence on the state's highways that was intended to promote safer travel, Torgerson said. Every trooper in the state took to the road in a project called "Colorado Target Zero Week." The State Patrol's top brass, from the chief, Col. Mark Trostel, down to Torgerson and his troopers, were on patrol. They wrote more than 1,000 tickets.
A seatbelt enforcement program called "Click It or Ticket," coincided with the holiday weekend.
The goal was to reduce fatal accidents to zero. With only 11 fatalities across the state, Torgerson said the effect was noticeable. In 2003, nearly 20 people died in statewide highway fatalities during the same weekend.
"It's a known fact that people see patrol cars with lights flashing and take the message to heart and watch their own driving," Torgerson said. "It's pretty tough to be everywhere at once, but our people worked hard to slow people down and remind them to wear their seat belts."
Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or

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