Spring snow turned I-70 in mountains treacherous for numerous drivers

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- A strong spring storm contributed to several multiple-car accidents on I-70 in the high country, and closed lanes in both directions. “It was horrible,” says accident victim, Brandy Simpson, who moved to Colorado from Sarasota, Florida in January.

She was part of a chain reaction crash that involved up to 10 cars on eastbound I-70 near the Lookout Mountain area.

Witnesses say a white truck hit a lamp pole sending it onto the highway.

“That big pole was in the middle spinning around and then I managed to avoid it in the left lane. And the cars were piling up behind me and hit the pole, and 360s, going backward. It was crazy,” said Simpson, who was heading to DIA to pick up her husband, who hasn’t yet ever been to Colorado.

“People were swerving. I swerved and avoided one car. But I hit a pickup,” said accident victim Frank Parce. "Then, I spun out into the situation I am in now.” He was stranded on the side of I-70.

These casualties were no match for Mother Nature, with fog and snow turning I-70 slick.

“Snow was piled up on the highway. And they hadn’t scraped the roads yet and it was snowing hard,” Simpson said. “Now it’s cleared up. So the road is just wet,” says Parce.

But further west, another two-car accident near Evergreen Parkway toppled a car onto its top. And multiple accidents closed both directions of I-70 about an hour later between Georgetown and Silver Plume.

It seems the higher the elevation, the heavier the snow, the longer the wait for truck drivers like James Mcghee. “I looked at the weather when I left Arkansas. This was supposed to be past us by now. But it was late getting here, so it delayed me,” he said. He waited all day for the weather to clear and the highway to reopen.

Slick conditions also slowed a trio in a Mustang on their way to California. “It’s so cold man,” said Zach Quentone of Omaha, Nebraska.

He and his buddies didn’t pack for the unplanned scenic route through Colorado. None have a coat and one was wearing shorts and sandals.

“We’re going to California, so we expected California weather. Kind of took a wrong turn. Yah, we’re supposed go through Arizona. We fell asleep, so he took a wrong turn. So now we’re going through the mountains,” said Antoine Edwards.

It is unexpected.

These accidental tourists enjoyed a Winter Wonderland in the spring time--when picture postcard views created sights no one wants to see.

The State Patrol said it does not keep track of the number of accidents its troopers respond to on this mountainous stretch of I-70. But did say it was higher than usual.

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