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RANGELY I Rangely resident Christopher Karschner, 22, was killed July 28 when a car he was a passenger in crossed lanes and collided with a Freightliner truck tractor on Highway 40.
According to a press release from the Colorado State Patrol, the accident happened at approximately 2:30 a.m., on Highway 40, milepost 65.3, near Craig. An Audi A4, driven by Raul Torres-Rodriquez, 35, from Fort Collins, was traveling westbound on Highway 40 and the Freightliner, driven by 53-year-old Rickie Jenkins of Casper, Wyo., was traveling eastbound when the Audi traveled into the eastbound lane and collided head-on with the Freightliner.
The Audi rotated clockwise after impact and came to rest on its wheels on the south shoulder of the roadway facing east. After impact the Freightliner spilled diesel fuel onto the roadway, traveled off the north side of the road and caught on fire before coming to rest on its wheels facing east. Jenkins, who was wearing a seatbelt, was able to exit the vehicle before it became engulfed in flames. Jenkins was transported to The Memorial Hospital in Craig, where he was treated and released with moderate injuries.
Karschner, who was a front seat passenger, and Torres-Rodriquez were both wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. A third occupant in the Audi, Luis Terrones-Ortega, 19, from Greeley was sitting unrestrained in the back seat. All three occupants in the Audi died on scene as a result of their injuries.
Highway 40 was closed for approximately 10 hours to conduct the investigation and cleanup of debris and diesel fuel on the roadway.
The Colorado State Patrol Hazardous Materials Unit responded to the scene and the Colorado Department of Transportation and LT Environmental assisted in the cleanup.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Karschner, a Rangely High School graduate, lived in Rangely and was employed by Mac’s Mechanical HVAC, LLC for the past five years. He is survived by his parents, Dave and Debbie Karschner, and older brother Duke.
* Editor’s note: the Herald Times regrets not publishing this news story in the Aug. 2 issue.