Wintry weather causes wrecks |

Wintry weather causes wrecks

4 people injured in vehicle accidents on Rabbit Ears Pass, US 40

Melinda Dudley

Three people were injured in a head-on collision on Rabbit Ears Pass on Tuesday afternoon, where wintry weather and icy roads wreaked havoc on motorists.

A Subaru Forester and a Jeep Cherokee collided head-on at about 4 p.m. near mile marker 147 on U.S. Highway 40, just east of the west summit of Rabbit Ears Pass. The accident limited traffic to one lane. Two semitrailers also spun out in the area, where officers reported hazardous road conditions resulting from the weather.

Colorado State Patrol, Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, and the Routt County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. The female driver of the Subaru complained about neck pain, according to dispatch communications. The injuries of the occupants of the Jeep are unknown. All three were transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center via ambulance.

The State Patrol did not return calls for comment Tuesday night, and no additional information was available.

Rain and snow also contributed to an earlier accident on Rabbit Ears Pass Tuesday afternoon.

A Lakewood man sustained minor injuries when he lost control of his pickup at about 2 p.m. on U.S. 40 near Timbers Reserve Drive South.

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Douglas Brunker, 32, was heading down the west side of the pass when he lost control of his vehicle on wet pavement, Trooper David Kerker said at the scene.

Brunker’s truck crossed the eastbound lanes of traffic and careened off the south side of U.S. 40, leaving deep tire tracks in the muddy shoulder roughly one mile from the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.

“As far as we can tell at the moment, he lost control because of the weather,” Kerker said.

The truck rolled several times down an embankment before it came to a rest about 150 feet from the road, laying on its side against several aspen trees with its mangled camper shell nearby.

The driver sustained only minor cuts in the crash, Kerker said. Nonetheless, Brunker was transported to YVMC via ambulance.

The storm that entered the region Tuesday was forecast to leave the area this morning. Rain and snow were expected to continue overnight Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

A light dusting of snow was possible in Steamboat Springs overnight Tuesday, as well as areas west to Hayden.

The storm system is expected to clear out of the Yampa Valley by mid-morning, and usher in warm, sunny weather with highs near 60 for the rest of the week.

– To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203 or e-mail