By Karen Morfitt

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.

(credit: CBS)

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 between Kremmling and Silverthorne (credit: CBS)

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.

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