Crash closes Highway 3 for 2 hours

Driver in Ford Focus collides with gas truck

A car and an AmeriGas truck collided on Colorado Highway 3, closing the road for more than two hours Tuesday morning. The car is loaded onto a recovery vehicle, and the truck has been turned around to be loaded onto a second recovery vehicle. Enlarge photo

DAVID BERGELAND/Durango Herald

A car and an AmeriGas truck collided on Colorado Highway 3, closing the road for more than two hours Tuesday morning. The car is loaded onto a recovery vehicle, and the truck has been turned around to be loaded onto a second recovery vehicle.

A two-car accident on Colorado Highway 3 sent a Durango man to the hospital with serious injuries Tuesday.

The crash south of Eighth Avenue and about two miles north of the intersection with South Camino del Rio, was reported about 9 a.m.

Colorado Highway 3 was closed for about 2˝ hours while crews worked to clear the scene.

Robert Aguilar, 19, was driving a silver 2000 Ford Focus northbound when he drifted into oncoming traffic and collided with an AmeriGas propane truck, said Trooper Scott Hubner, with the Colorado State Patrol.

The driver of the gas truck, Stephen Johnson, 51, of Bayfield, swerved right to try to avoid the impact, he said. The sides of the vehicles collided.

“It was very close to being a head-on,” Hubner said.

Authorities are unsure why Aguilar drifted into oncoming traffic. There were no skid marks or anything to suggest he need to avoid something in the road. Drugs and alcohol are not believed to be factors in the crash, Hubner said.

“It just looks like he drifted into the other lane,” he said.

Aguilar was treated and released Tuesday at Mercy Regional Medical Center, said David Bruzzese, spokesman at the hospital. Aguilar was cited with failure to drive in a single lane and driving with a restrained driver’s license resulting from an unpaid ticket, Hubner said.

The driver of the truck was uninjured.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts.

Aguilar’s vehicle caught fire after the impact. The truck driver used a fire extinguisher onboard to extinguish the flames, Hubner said.

Both vehicles lost a considerable amount of fluids.

The Durango Fire & Rescue Authority used foam to contain the hazard, he said. No fuel spilled from the propane tank, but emergency workers treated the truck with special attention for safety reasons.

The road was closed from 9 to 11:40 a.m., Hubner said.

shane@durangoherald.com