Three-car accident on Highway 91 kills one near Leadville
August 17, 2016
A man died early Sunday evening, July 10, when his white sedan, heading south toward Leadville on State Highway 91, crossed over the centerline, sideswiped the rear of one car going the opposite direction before colliding with another passenger vehicle head on.
Colorado State Patrol confirmed that the incident took place near White Mountain Snowmobile Zip-Line Tours at mile marker 6 in Lake County at about 5:30 p.m. The man died shortly after witnesses — including a trained, off-duty EMT — came upon the crash. The male driver of the car struck directly was pinned underneath the steering column of his vehicle, according to an eyewitness, while his female passenger had a critically bloodied eye and complained of additional physical pain. Both cars were totaled, while the car that had been clipped was sent spinning approximately 150 yards into a ditch. The two occupants seemed to be mostly uninjured.
"We couldn't get any cell service," said Thornton resident Jenn Kulinski, who along with her husband was one of the first few cars to the scene. "And so, everybody was just frantically trying to get a phone to work. Then somebody else got through. But the thing is, we couldn't get through to 911 in the first place and then once we did, they were far (away), so."
Kulinski, who with her party was returning from a weekend trip to Aspen for a weekend CrossFit competition, estimated that it took emergency crews 25-to-30 minutes from the time of the accident to arrive. By then, the driver of the white sedan — whose car carried Missouri plates — expired due to the severity of his injuries, and a bystander placed a sheet over his car to conceal the grisly sight.
"He was stuck in the car," Kulinski said, "so they tried to make it so they could get him out. But once they got into the vehicle, they saw that he was not going to make it. I thought I might pass out if I went down there."
Instead, because the accident was blocking one of the lanes, she and four others who had turned up directed cars, alternating sides of traffic on the temporary one-lane road. More Good Samaritans tended to the two injured individuals in the other smoking car.
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A Sheriff's Office patrol car was first to arrive, followed by a fire truck and ambulance from Leadville/Lake County Fire-Rescue. The Copper Mountain Fire Department also assisted with the incident.