VAIL, Colo. — A semitruck driver has been charged with five counts of careless driving causing injury in connection to a three-vehicle crash near the bottom of the west side of Vail Pass on Saturday, the Colorado State Patrol said.
Investigators are looking into excessive speed and brake failure as possible factors in the crash that closed Interstate 70 for about four hours.
Five people — three children ages 9, 7 and 7, and two adults — were injured in the crash about 10:30 a.m. near mile marker 182 about 2 miles east of the East Vail exit.
The Colorado State Patrol said a 2015 International semitruck driven by Keith Thompson, 48, of Detroit was coming down Vail Pass when it hit a 2016 Ford Explorer towing a camper trailer.
The collision forced the Explorer and a 2010 Jeep Cherokee off the interstate.
The Explorer, driven by a 40-year-old California man, rolled several times, causing injuries to all five passengers.
The Jeep was being driven by a 69-year-old man from Evans. He was not injured.
After the collision, Thompson used a runaway truck ramp to stop at mile marker 182, the Colorado State Patrol said. He was not injured.
The occupants of the Explorer were taken to Vail Health Hospital then later, all five were taken to Denver-area hospitals by Flight for Life helicopter or ground ambulance.
As of Sunday afternoon, two of the juveniles were still in critical condition. The other occupants of the Explorer were in stable condition.
The crash remains under investigation.
Thompson drives for Illinois-based International Logistics Group. Documents show the company has had two tow-away crashes in the past two years.
The company did not respond to several calls and emails seeking comment.
Thompson is due in court next month.