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MEEKER I Five Meeker-area teenagers and young adults were critically or seriously injured Wednesday afternoon in a one-vehicle rollover just west of Meeker, causing four of the five injured to be airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
According to the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office, the County Communications Center was notified at 2:56 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 19) of a single-vehicle rollover crash 4.5 miles west of Meeker on Highway 64 with multiple victims being reported injured.
According to the Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office, injured in the accident were: driver Jessica Johns, 19, passengers Zachary Williams, 18, Costin Pallach, 18, and Gabrielle Garzon, 21. The other passenger has been identified as 16-year-old Dominick Cardile, also of Meeker. Because he is a juvenile and because the case is still under investigation, the sheriff’s office did not release his name right away.
Johns, Garzon, Williams and Cardile were airlifted to St. Mary’s Hospital following the accident—two by life-flight helicopter and two by airplane. Pallach remained at Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker.
According to the RBCSO, upon arrival at the scene, the first deputy found one occupant, Garzon, had been ejected, that driver Johns was partially ejected and that the other three passengers had climbed out of the vehicle, a Ford Explorer, on their own. The Explorer came to rest on its roof, 85 feet south of the highway, in a field.
The RBCSO reported that the vehicle had been traveling eastbound on Highway 64 when the driver allegedly lost control, swerved and overcorrected. The vehicle rotated 180 degrees before leaving the south side of the highway. After the vehicle left the roadway, it reportedly rolled two and a half times, coming to rest on its roof.
All five occupants were initially transported by Meeker Fire and Rescue ambulances to Pioneers Medical Center in Meeker for treatment.
According to a sheriff’s office spokesman on Monday morning, officers from Rio Blanco County traveled to Grand Junction over the weekend to interview those in the accident.
As of Monday morning Garzon remained at St. Mary’s with a fractured pelvis and a neck injury; Johns suffered a broken right femur and broken left tibia and was still in St. Mary’s; Williams reportedly had a non-threatening head injury and has since been released; Cardile, whose injuries were unknown, was released from the hospital on Friday; and Pallach suffered a non-life-threatening head injury.
The sheriff’s office reported that there is not yet any public indication of what may have caused the accident as the incident is still under investigation by the RBCSO and that until the investigation is concluded, more information will not be available.