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Southern Ute police officer cited with careless driving

Drivers identified in crash south of Durango

The Colorado State Patrol on Saturday identified the Southern Ute Police Department deputy who was involved in a crash Thursday night on U.S. Highway 550, near Bondad.

Matthew Gallegos, 28, of Ignacio, has been cited with careless driving causing bodily injury, said Sgt. Ben Steger, with the State Patrol.

Gallegos, who was on duty at the time of the crash, was driving his patrol vehicle, a Ford Explorer, north on U.S. Highway 550 when he made a U-turn to go south, Steger said. He was struck by Evan Wagner, 18, of Farmington, who also was driving north on Highway 550.

The crash occurred about 10:35 p.m. near mile marker 4, just south of County Road 318.

Gallegos was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center with an eye injury. A spokeswoman with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe said the officer received minor injuries. She declined to provide further information, including whether Gallegos remains on active duty.

The driver of the Subaru complained of injuries but refused transport to the hospital.

The Subaru caught fire and was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.

Highway 550 was closed from about 10:35 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Friday, Steger said.

Steger said he is unsure why the officer made a U-turn. An incident report made no mention of the officer’s emergency lights being activated.


Sep 20, 2021
Southern Ute police deputy involved in injury crash south of Durango