Teenager ejected in U.S. Highway 160 crash

Bayfield 17-year-old, not wearing seat belt, thrown over passenger

Sadie Yates waits before she is transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center on Tuesday after a pickup hit her car at Camino del Rio and Sawyer Drive. Yates was thrown over her passenger and ejected through the passenger-side. She was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic. Enlarge photo

JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Sadie Yates waits before she is transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center on Tuesday after a pickup hit her car at Camino del Rio and Sawyer Drive. Yates was thrown over her passenger and ejected through the passenger-side. She was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic.

A two-car crash sent a 17-year-old Bayfield girl to the hospital Tuesday in Durango.

The crash occurred about 11:10 a.m. at South Camino del Rio and Sawyer Drive, the intersection that serves as the main entrance to the Durango Mall.

The teenager, Sadie Yates, was treated and released at Mercy Regional Medical Center.

The girl was driving a 2005 Pontiac coupe south on South Camino del Rio when she attempted to turn left into the mall on a yellow light, said Durango police Sgt. Bobby Taylor.

Her vehicle was struck by a 2006 GMC pickup being driven northbound by Cody Strietzel, 23, of Durango.

The girl, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the vehicle.

“We were sitting there waiting to turn,” Samuel Stites, a witness. “All of a sudden, a bang. The door popped open, and out she came. It looked like an explosion. There was debris everywhere.”

The girl was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic while turning left, Taylor said.

The identity of a passenger in Yates’ car was not immediately available.

Strietzel was driving with his brother, Dillon Strietzel.

With the exception of the girl, everyone was treated and released on scene, Taylor said.

The crash was similar to one that occurred in June along the same corridor at the Walmart intersection that killed Gleb and Wallis Derujinsky of Durango.

About a week after the accident, the Colorado Department of Transportation installed a new signal that stops oncoming traffic before cars can turn left.

This fall, the agency expects to spend about $500,000 to upgrade about 19 intersections between Animas View Drive (north Durango) and Elmore’s Corner (U.S. Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 172), said Nancy Shanks, spokeswoman for CDOT.

All intersections will receive turn arrows that allow permissive or protected left turns, depending on the intersection and time of day.

A permissive left turn allows drivers to yield to oncoming traffic. A protected left turn stops oncoming traffic and allows drivers to turn only during green arrows.

If drivers are permitted to yield to oncoming traffic, the arrow will blink yellow or turn to a solid yellow before turning red.

Northbound traffic on Tuesday was rerouted on a frontage road while crews removed the wreckage.

shane@durangoherald.com