Two accidents east of Pagosa Springs on Monday sent three people to area hospitals, one of whom was subsequently transported to a Denver-area hospital.
The second and more serious of the accidents occurred Monday evening shortly before 7 p.m. on Wolf Creek Pass.
A semi truck was pulling a flatbed trailer with a load of roof shingles westbound down Wolf Creek Pass when the driver lost control, said Trooper Randy Talbot of the Colorado State Patrol.
Just above the lower runaway truck ramp on the west side of the pass, the semi overturned onto its left side, sliding down the highway and colliding with a 2005 GMC Yukon carrying a family of four from Oklahoma City, Talbot said.
According to Talbot, the impact of the semi, grossing between 76,000 and 78,000 pounds, stopped the Yukon and began pushing it backwards, pushing it on top of and partially over the guard rail and onto a snowbank.
The semi — carrying driver Lenniere Victorian, 31, of Houston, and passenger Martin Coy, 46 — collided with the front left-hand side of the Yukon, directly in front of the driver.
The two children in the Yukon, a 12-year-old male and an 18-year-old female, were able to extricate themselves, though emergency personnel were required to extricate their parents.
The passenger, Cindy Beavers, 44, was extricated and airlifted from the chain station at the base of the pass to Mercy Regional Medical Center.
“Mom was not a hard extrication,” Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Ron Thompson said, adding that the husband and father, David Beavers, 46, was “entangled in the vehicle” and suffered impalement injuries.
Fourteen firefighters, among other emergency personnel, responded to the incident and extricated the pair.
After the lengthy extrication of David Beavers, he was transported to Pagosa Springs Medical Center, airlifted to Mercy and subsequently airlifted to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver, Talbot said.
Talbot said Tuesday he believed both Cindy and David Beavers were in critical, but stable, condition following the accident.
The kids received minor injuries and were transported to PSMC.
Troopers Talbot and Matthew Lubbis remained with the children until about 1:30 a.m., at which point they were released to family friends traveling in tandem with the Beavers.
The driver and passenger of the semi sustained only minor injuries, Talbot said.
“It looked like there was some equipment failure that definitely contributed to the accident,” Talbot said, adding that the investigation and examination of the semi was continuing.
Until the investigation is complete, it is unknown what, if any, charges Victorian faces, Talbot said.
The first of Monday’s accidents occurred at about 8:20 a.m. on U.S. 160, between mile markers 149 and 150 (near San Juan River Village), said Talbot.
Linda Valdez, 58, of Cortez, was travelling eastbound on the highway with her son, Brian Gallegos, 34, in a 2006 GMC pickup when she spun out of control and went off the right side of the roadway, Talbot said.
The vehicle then slid down an embankment and rolled onto its left side, Talbot said.
Gallegos was okay, said Talbot, but Valdez, who was complaining of back pain, had to be extricated from the vehicle.
Talbot said the injuries were “nothing very serious.”
The extrication required complete removal of the pickup’s roof, said Thompson.
Once Valdez was extricated, she was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center.
Valdez was charged with careless driving.