AVON, Colo. (CBS4) – Both directions of Interstate 70 had to be closed after a fatal accident Sunday morning at the Avon exit.
Jaime Walker, Community Relations Officer for the town of Avon, said around 10 a.m. a Yellow company truck pulling two freight trailers westbound on I-70 went off the elevated portion the highway and landed on a Honda CRV occupied by two Avon residents. There was an explosion and fire. It took 20 to 30 minutes to put out fire.
The driver of the semi was killed in the crash. A passenger in the truck was taken to Vail Valley Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
The occupants of the Honda were able to get out of their SUV. They were injured and taken to Vail Valley Medical Center, but have been treated and released.
It’s not clear why the truck went off the highway.
Vail Daily reported that area residents could feel the ground shake from the explosion.
“I could feel it from my house,” Avon resident John Byron told the Vail Daily. “The flames were four times as high as the bridge. It was surreal. I couldn’t believe my eyes.”
One witness told CBS4 she was lucky she wasn’t involved in the crash.
“I think I was kind of in shock because I kept driving and my son was yelling to stop,” witness Lynn Larsen said. “Five seconds earlier we would have been right under there.”
Eastbound I-70 lanes have since been opened. One westbound lane was opened Sunday evening. Traffic going westbound had been exiting at the Avon off-ramp and then returning to the highway on the on-ramp.
The Colorado Department of Transportation needs to inspect the stability of the bridge before the westbound lanes can be opened.
A hazmat team was inspecting the truck’s load to see if there were any chemicals. Diane Johnson with the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District said the Eagle River Fire Protection District is confident no materials from the truck made it to a storm drain.