I-70 Crash, as paged

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Premium Subscriber
Dec 11, 2002
Nine girls injured in I-70 crash

Names of passengers not released; injuries not seen as life-threatening

J.K. Perry
May 24, 2006

EAGLE — Nine teenage girls suffered injuries Wednesday when the Jeep they were in skidded out of control and off Interstate 70 outside Eagle before hitting an embankment and flipping onto its roof.

The girls — none of them over 16 — did not suffer life-threatening injuries, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Justin Mitchell said. Sixteen-year-olds Cynthia Najera — the driver — and Alondra Laureano were transported to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs with moderate injuries.

Janet Nunez, 14, Evelyn Najera, 14, Jasmin Torres, 15, Alejandra Cornelio, 16, and Carla Fierro, 16, suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Vail Valley Medical Center.

Two girls — Peria Carmona, 14 and 15-year-old Viridina Loera — suffered serious injuries and were transported from the scene of the crash by helicopter to Vail Valley Medical Center, where they were stabilized and then flown to Denver Health Medical Center.

Just before 11 a.m., the girl’s Jeep Grand Cherokee — traveling at approximately 70 mph in a 75 mph zone — was passed on the left by another vehicle, Mitchell said. The Cherokee swerved left into the adjacent lane, then overcorrected back to the right, skidding sideways across the shoulder into an embankment, Mitchell said. The sport utility vehicle flipped one-and-a-half times, landing on its roof.

One of the girls was ejected from the SUV, and the roof caved in and trapped several girls inside.

Traffic on the interstate in both directions was stopped for approximately half an hour while a helicopter landed on the highway to fly one of the girls to a hospital.

Investigators with the State Patrol suspect only the driver, Cynthia Najera, was wearing her seatbelt. The vehicle is equipped to restrain five people.

Cynthia Najera was cited for careless driving causing serious bodily injury, driving without a valid driver’s license and operating the vehicle while younger than 17 with more passengers than seat belts.

Feelings of invincibility
The accident came two days after 100 law enforcement agencies across the state began the “Click it or Ticket” campaign, an effort to increase seat belt use and reduce traffic deaths through citations and public awareness, according the State Patrol’s Web site.

Seat-belt sting
Colorado law enforcement agencies are participating in the statewide “Click it or Ticket” campaign, which began Monday and extends until June 4. During the 2005 ticket-writing and public awareness campaign, 11,433 tickets were issued.

Here are some seat belt statistics from the Colorado State Patrol:

• Seat-belt use is highest on the Front Range at 82 percent, followed by 77 percent on the Western Slope and 68 percent on the Eastern Plains. The statewide seat-belt use rate is 79.2 percent.

• People under age 35 accounted for nearly 59 percent of all 258 unbuckled crash victims in 2005. Of those, 95 percent were between the ages of 16 and 34.

• Nearly 70 percent of all the unbuckled crash victims were men.
“We don’t like writing these tickets but seat belts save lives,” said Trooper Eric Wynn, spokesman for the Colorado State Patrol.

The campaign began Monday and continues through June 4. State Patrol figures show the number of unrestrained deaths dropped from 354 in 2001 to 258 in 2005 after the inception of “Click it or Ticket.”

Young adults in the 15- to 25-year-old range are least likely of all age groups to wear seat belts, yet traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among the group, Wynn said.

A reason young adults often don’t wear their belt is because they feel invincible, Wynn said. This, along with peer pressure, inexperience and distractions, play a key role in the decisions young adults make, Wynn said.

For anyone of any age, strapping a seat belt on is an easy task that should be incorporated into a routine each time someone gets in their car, Wynn said.

“It’s just as easy as it is to start the car,” he said. “When you get in the car you should have a system to start the car and put (the belt) on.”
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Scanning since the 70's to today.
Jan 20, 2002
Greeley, CO
I'm not sure if it is or not a primary or not. Greeley started the debate several years ago by implementig this as a local offense. The usual "it's about revenue" crowd started an instant *****fest. Sadly the majority of fatals here in Weld county were not wearing them.



Jul 26, 2004
Seat belts are a secondary unless there is an unrestrained child. From what I've heard, the bill was shot down again making it a primary. We'll try next year.
Click it or Ticket seems to be working for us along Highway 24 in Elbert County, alot of contacts for speed, etc.. but not one seatbelt violation.
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