By Melissa Garcia
ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A mother, her daughter, and another young woman are recovering from serious injuries after a deadly wrong-way crash on Interstate 25 in Adams County.
The interstate’s HOV lanes switch between north and southbound depending on the time of day.
Saturday just before 6 p.m., the northbound express lanes were open.
Little did a driver and his family of four who got onto the express lanes know that a few miles down, a wrong-way driver would crash into them head-on.
“It’s very tragic, very horrific, very emotional,” said Jessica Griffin, an eye witness to the three-car wreck who was one of the first to call 911.
“It was terrifying. I never wanted to see that in my life and I hope I never do again,” Griffin told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Miguel Ramirez Gutierrez, 47, who was driving a tan Honda CRV, was killed by the impact, as was his 17-year-old son.
Two other passengers in that vehicle, Selma Ramirez Muro, 20, and Maria Muro Palacios, 45, suffered serious injuries and were rushed to the hospital by ambulance.
The suspect, Kimberly Rodriguez Roldan, 24, is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol when she entered the closed southbound HOV lanes in a black Jeep, driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic, said a spokesman with the Colorado State Patrol. She also suffered severe injuries and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.
CBS4 Reporter Melissa Garcia spoke by phone with the suspect driver’s devastated father, who said his daughter underwent surgery Sunday and was still in the hospital.
Investigators said that Rodriguez Roldan’s southbound Jeep collided with the northbound CRV.
“All of a sudden it stopped. And it started flying into the air and hit into the guardrail and went up into the air,” Griffin said. “We saw the wheels of the car spin around.”
The CRV spun into a Chevy Impala filled with Centaurus High School wrestlers and at least one wrestling team staff member who was driving them back to Lafayette from a meet at Denver’s Lincoln High School. No one in that vehicle suffered any injuries.
For Griffin, the emotional first-hand account has changed the way she looks at life.
“Take every moment that you can, hug the ones you love, tell the ones you love that you love them,” she said.
A spokesperson with the Boulder Valley School District said that Centaurus High School would have counselors available at school on Monday to help the students and staff who were involved in the wreck.
Troopers Sunday were unable to comment on possible charges against the alleged wrong-way driver, saying the accident was “still under investigation.”