Storm system wreaks havoc on motorists

Numerous accidents reported across Routt County on Sunday


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— The weekend storm system that brought more than 10 inches of snow to the slopes of Mount Werner also caused headaches for motorists throughout the region.

Local law enforcement agencies responded to about a dozen car accidents Sunday, including two involving cars that slid off Rabbit Ears Pass. None of the accidents resulted in serious injuries.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper David Kerker said the drivers in the two unrelated Rabbit Ears accidents were wearing their seatbelts and walked away from the incidents shaken but mostly unharmed. U.S. Highway 40 over Rabbit Ears Pass remained open throughout the weekend, although snowy conditions made for hazardous driving.

The most serious accident of the weekend was a head-on collision at about 2:30 p.m. Sunday on Routt County Road 129 near the Mad Creek crossing. Kerker said a southbound 1999 Chevrolet Monte Carlo slid into the northbound lane and struck a 2008 Subaru Forester head-on. The driver of the Monte Carlo suffered a foot fracture, Kerker said, and a passenger in the Forester suffered a broken pinkie finger. Both cars were likely totaled, Kerker said.

Authorities closed C.R. 129 for about 45 minutes while the accident was cleared.

Steamboat Springs police and Routt County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to numerous accidents throughout the county Sunday. Many involved vehicles that slid off the roadway.

Kerker reminded motorists that winter in Northwest Colorado has arrived, and to change driving habits accordingly.

"Slow it down," he said. "The roads are a sheet of ice the first thing in the morning."

He advised commuters to leave between 30 and 45 minutes earlier than usual to allow for slower travel.

Colorado Department of Transportation officials said early Monday that most Colorado highways have reopened after a snowstorm caused icy roads and poor visibility for holiday travelers returning home.

CDOT has reopened U.S. 285 from Kenosha Pass to Fairplay and South Park. U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass was still closed Monday morning.

CDOT spokesman Bob Wilson says conditions on both stretches of highway are expected to remain windy and icy with snowpack.

Red Cross spokeswoman Nicole Adair says the agency is closing a shelter in Silverthorne where about 130 stranded travelers stayed Sunday night. The eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 were closed Sunday over Vail Pass and from Silverthorne to the Eisenhower tunnel because of bad weather and heavy traffic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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