Accident sends four to hospital
Vehicle flips after passing semi; 'driver error' named as cause
August 28, 2001
A rollover accident early Tuesday morning sent four Craig residents to The Memorial Hospital (TMH) for treatment; three of passengers were treated and released on Tuesday, and one passenger is still at the hospital for observation.
At approximately 6:40 a.m., a 1992 Hyundai Excel driven by Madilde Hernandez, 46, went out of control and then rolled over one-and-a-half times near mile marker 98 on U.S. Highway 40, west of the Routt and Moffat county line.
“The vehicle was headed eastbound on Highway 40. The driver had just passed a semi, which was traveling at 65 m.p.h., and it looks like when she went to get back in her lane, she cut it too sharp, overcorrected, and then lost control of the vehicle,” said Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Hank Chase. “There was no reason for the wreck at all. It was driver error, basically.”
After the overcorrection, Hernandez swerved to the right, leaving a 40-foot yaw mark, then swerved to the left, leaving a 132-foot yaw mark.
The car then rotated a quarter turn counter-clockwise and skidded 59 feet broadside before going off the left side of the road. The car went down a slight embankment, and then rolled over one-and-a-half times, coming to rest on its roof in a ditch, facing south.
A yaw mark is a distinctive mark, “a sort of half moon shape,” that tires leave when they are spinning still in contact with the road, but sliding sideways to the direction the tires are pointed in, Chase said.
Hernandez was cited for careless driving.
Hernandez, Evonnio Prieto, 27, and Jason York, 17, all from Craig, were treated and released from the hospital, said Pam Thompson, community spokesperson for TMH. Hernandez had scrapes and bruises, Prieto suffered a small head wound and York was treated for shoulder injuries.
The fourth passenger, Ruben Hernandez, 44, also from Craig, was ejected from the vehicle during the crash and sustained moderate head injuries, Chase said.
Ruben Hernandez is being held in a special unit at the hospital for two days to be observed and monitored as a precautionary measure because of the nature of his injuries, Thompson said.