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Crash on U.S. Highway 491 north of Cortez injures driver

Pickup truck slams into back of semitrailer
A pickup truck rear-ended a semitrailer on U.S. Highway 491 at mile marker 29.5 Wednesday afternoon. The driver of the pickup was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital with serious injuries. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

The driver a pickup truck hauling a trailer was seriously injured Wednesday afternoon when the pickup crashed into the back of a semitrailer on U.S. Highway 491, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

The crash occurred about 3:40 p.m. at mile marker 29.5 just north of County Road M.

The highway was closed for more than an hour as the crash was investigated and vehicles and debris removed.

The southbound semitrailer with an empty flatbed was making a left turn into a business when it was hit from behind by the southbound pickup hauling a trailer, said Trooper James Proctor.

The pickup was heavily damaged, and its air bags deployed.

The male driver of the pickup was transported to Southwest Memorial Hospital with serious injuries, Proctor said. There were no passengers. The driver of the semitrailer was uninjured.

Witnesses said they heard a tremendous bang. The crash is under investigation, Proctor said.

U.S. Highway 491 north of Cortez was closed down temporarily Wednesday afternoon because of a crash. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

Northbound traffic was stopped and detoured temporarily at Road M, and backed-up southbound traffic was diverted onto County Road N.

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