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Collision of semitrailer and pickup on U.S. 491 causes injuries

Highway closed at County Road N for two hours; man flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center

A crash involving a semitrailer and a pickup truck Wednesday morning seriously injured one driver and temporarily closed U.S. Highway 491 north of Cortez.

The crash occurred about 7:30 a.m. at the intersection of County Road N and the highway.

The driver of a gray Ford F-150 traveling eastbound on Road N attempted to cross the highway and was struck by the northbound semitrailer, said Sgt. Nathan Lyons of the Colorado State Patrol.

The driver of the pickup – a 20-year-old man from Cortez – was ejected from the vehicle and sustained severe injuries, Lyons said.

He was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital, then flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction. The man’s identity has not been released. He was driving to work, Lyons said.

The driver of the flatbed semitrailer braked in an attempt to avoid the crash, Lyons said. He was uninjured and was not at fault, Lyons said.

The incident occurred near mile marker 31 and remains under investigation by the State Patrol. It is suspected that the pickup truck driver was not wearing a seat belt, Lyons said. All air bags deployed in the pickup. No drugs or alcohol were involved.

The highway was closed in both directions from 7:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. Traffic was directed around the crash site via nearby county roads.

Multiple agencies responded, including Colorado State Patrol, Cortez Fire Protection District, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, Southwest Health System ambulance and Colorado Department of Transportation.

Lyons urged that drivers use caution on U.S. 491, which has many side roads as it passes through the county.

“There are some dangerous intersections,” he said. “I know people are aware, but accidents keep happening.”