Driver causes 3-car crash and minor injuries Sunday after falling asleep at the wheel near Hayden
Steamboat Springs — Routt County emergency responders stayed busy Sunday afternoon tending to multiple car crashes caused by a variety of factors, including some slushy roads and a driver who fell asleep at the wheel near Hayden.
The most serious crash involved three vehicles and occurred Sunday morning in Mount Harris Canyon west of Steamboat Springs.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Scott Elliott said Craig resident Jesse Decker, 18, was driving west on U.S. Highway 40 at about 7:40 a.m. when he reportedly fell asleep at the wheel of his 2007 Ford Focus and drifted into the opposite lane of the highway on a right turn.
Seeing the Ford come into his lane, Brian Schaneman, of Livermore, swerved his 2004 Dodge Ram 2500 onto the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision but still was sideswiped by the Focus.
Decker’s vehicle then veered back into the roadway and was broadsided by a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Craig resident Janalee Brown.
The driver of the pickup that was sideswiped sustained minor injuries and was treated at the scene, while Decker was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center with minor injuries.
Schaneman’s 13-year-old son and the driver of the Jeep were not injured in the crash.
Elliott said the investigation still is ongoing, and charges are pending.
There also were crashes in South Routt County and on Rabbit Ears Pass.
“There were numerous slide-offs on Rabbit Ears,” Elliott said. “It was snowy and icy, and people were going too fast.”
With winter weather returning to the high country, the accidents on the pass served as a reminder to slow down and not drive too fast in adverse weather conditions.
In South Routt, Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to multiple crashes, including a vehicle that slid off of a slushy road near Toponas.
The driver in that crash refused medical treatment.
Driving weather in the Yampa Valley should be good for the rest of the week as clear skies and high temperatures in the 60s dominate the forecast.
With an above-average snowpack following a snowy winter, local firefighters and wildlife experts are expecting a mild fire season this year, especially at higher elevations.