Accident injures 4, closes highway west of town |

Accident injures 4, closes highway west of town

Christine Metz

A three-car accident Sunday morning sent four to the hospital and tied up U.S. Highway 40 just west of Hayden for more than an hour and a half.

An eastbound Dodge pickup rear-ended a Ford pickup just after 9:30 a.m., causing the Ford to spin into the westbound lane and hit an oncoming Saturn, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Doug Kline said.

Three passengers in the Saturn and a woman in the Ford truck were taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center with injuries. All but one were released Sunday.

The driver of the Dodge truck, Levi Schnackenberg, 19 of Craig, hit the back of 22-year-old Craig resident Tonya Louthan’s Ford after she slowed down when a snowplow passed and reduced her visibility, Kline said.

The impact caused Louthan’s vehicle to swerve into the westbound lane and collide head-on with a red Saturn driven by Jacob Leatherman, 26 of Clark, Kline said.

The three vehicles came to rest in the traveling lanes, closing U.S. 40 for more than an hour and a half. Passenger vehicles were able to detour the accident by going through the Meadow Village Trailer Park at the west end of Hayden, Kline said. Tractor trailers were unable to get through the trailer park, however, and had to wait until the road cleared.

The two passengers in the Saturn, Mark Titre, 22 of Clark, and Ryan Herbert, 23 of Steamboat Springs, were not wearing seat belts.

Herbert, who was sitting in the back seat of the Saturn, was thrown forward by the impact and collided with the front passenger seat. He sustained the worst injuries, Kline said.

Schnackenberg and two passengers in his vehicle were not injured.

The Saturn was totaled and the Ford and Dodge trucks sustained moderate damage.

Kline said Schnackenberg caused the accident by following to closely on an icy road. In poor road conditions, Kline said, drivers should remember to allow extra following room between vehicles.

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