Tanker rollover claims life, DUI accident at RHS damages school

RBC — Trooper Kirk Gardner with the Colorado State Patrol, Sergeant Patrick Darrow with the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office and Meeker Volunteer Fire and Rescue crews responded to a one-vehicle rollover accident in the Piceance Creek Basin April 18 at 12:27 p.m.
Chad Mares, 28, of Parachute, Colo., was northbound on Stewart Gulch Road in a 2006 Sterling three-axle tanker when he went off the right side of the road near mile marker 12.7, a location in a remote Garfield County. After leaving the road, the tanker rolled two and three-quarter times down a steep embankment coming to rest on the driver’s side. Mares, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the tanker and sustained fatal injuries. The Careflight helicopter at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction was put on standby for a short time. A paramedic arriving at the accident prior to law enforcement and Meeker rescue crews pronounced Mares dead at the scene. According to the Colorado State Patrol, neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected as factors in the accident; however, toxicology reports from the Garfield County Coroner’s Office are still pending. The accident is still under investigation by the CSP.
The Rangely Police Department received a report of a single vehicle accident at Rangely High School April 18 at 5 p.m. Dennis Middleton, Jr., 27, of Rangely, drove through a wall on the backside of the Rangely High School building. No injuries were sustained in the accident. Middleton was arrested and transported to the Rio Blanco County Detention Center in Meeker where he was jailed on DUI charges.