Del Norte resident killed in crash on Wolf Creek pass

Photo by Tyler Schmidt

Mineral County- The Colorado State Patrol investigated a two vehicle crash on Highway 160 at Mile Post 179.3. The crash occurred in Mineral County at the bottom of Wolf Creek pass.

At approximately 5:14 a.m. Christmas Day, Vehicle #1, a 2008 Ford F350, driven by Ernesto Velaquez, 48, of Del Norte Colorado was westbound on Colorado 160 at a high rate of speed. Vehicle #2, a 2018 Kenworth truck tractor and semitractor-trailer driven by Arturo Romeo, 55, of Commerce City Colorado and front seat passenger Desiree Van Hartesrett, 53, of Commerce City Colorado, was eastbound on Colorado 160. Vehicle #1 traveled into the eastbound lane to negotiate the curve. The driver of Vehicle #1 lost control of the vehicle and began to rotate counterclockwise. Vehicle #1 traveled back across the westbound lane out of control before traveling off the north side of the roadway. Vehicle #1 then traveled westbound off the northside of the roadway, along the ditch and embankment, striking several rocks and a delineator post, before striking a large boulder with the front of Vehicle #1. After striking the large boulder Vehicle #1 rotated clockwise coming back onto the roadway, rolling one-half time and, rotating 180 degrees striking the front of Vehicle #2 with the driver’s side of vehicle #1. Vehicle #1 rotated back counterclockwise coming to final rest on its top facing east. Vehicle #2 was almost stopped when it was struck by vehicle #1. Vehicle #2 came to final rest on its wheels facing east.

Driver of Vehicle #1 Ernesto Velaquez died on scene as a result of the injuries he sustained from the crash. Auturo Romeo and Desiree Van Hartesrett in Vehicle #2 were not injured.


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