RIFLE, Colo. (CBS4)– Three people, including a child and teen, were killed when their SUV hit a 300-pound bear on Friday.
Investigators with the Colorado State Patrol say seven people in the car were all ejected, none of them were wearing seat belts.
The crash happened early Friday morning on Interstate 70 near Rifle. Emergency crews rushed the surviving members of the family to area hospitals. A 9-year-old boy was flown to Children’s Hospital in Aurora.
“Unfortunately, we see accidents like this across Colorado,” Mike Porras with Colorado Parks and Wildlife said.
Porras says animal collisions are a problem that come hand-in-hand with living in Colorado.
They continuously work with the Colorado Department of Transportation on a number of safety projects to help reduce these type of accidents.
Highway 9 near Kremmling is one of those examples but Porras says it is also up to the driver.
“Take some preventive measures to avoid a wildlife collision such as involving everyone in the vehicle with scanning the road sides,” Porras said.
The people who were killed were all from New Castle. They were identified as:
Kimberly Hernandez, 7
Brizeyda (aka Brizeida) Hernandez, 15
Eugenio Hernandez Altamirano, 63
Porras says the bear was also killed in Friday’s collision.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.