GOLDEN, Colo. -- One vehicle careened into Clear Creek after being involved in a four-vehicle accident that closed U.S. 6 Wednesday morning. The highway didn't reopen until after 3 p.m.
The cause of the accident has not been officially determined by the Colorado State Patrol, but witnesses say it started when the driver of a semi truck carrying 6,000 gallons of asphalt oil may have lost control. They say he was driving too fast down one of the many sharp turns in Clear Creek Canyon.
The semi was heading westbound on U.S. 6 near Tunnel 1 just before 2 a.m. when it collided with an oncoming Jeep. A sedan trying to avoid the wreck rolled over into Clear Creek. A second sedan drove into the semi, which also rolled.
Paramedics rushed a total of five people to the hospital, with two in critical condition and two in serious condition. The semi driver was the fifth injured party, and is said to have minor injuries.
The crash resulted in a hazardous materials spill from the truck.
Sandra Paris, the mother of victim Chris Paris, said her son and his girlfriend Jessica, also a victim, are happy to be alive.
"It was just really scary," a teary-eyed Sandra said. "My son and Jessica are fine, they just need to be looked at for some bumps, bruises and trauma. It was just a really scary experience for a mom to get a call like this at 2 in the morning.
U.S. 6 was closed in both directions for more than 12 hours while police investigated and crews cleaned up the scene, which contained a large amount of spilled asphalt oil.
Some of that oil spilled into Clear Creek, but according to CSP, the creek is frozen, so none of the oil was able to contaminate the body of water.