The Colorado State Patrol is investigating a one-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 160 east of Pagosa Springs that killed a Cortez woman and seriously injured three juveniles.
About 1:15 a.m. Sunday, a blue 2016 Ford F-150 was headed westbound toward Pagosa Springs on Highway 160 at milepost 154, the state patrol said, when the vehicle drove off the right side of the road, struck a tree and spun into a fence. The vehicle did not roll, said Trooper Jeffrey Chmielewski, a public information officer for the state patrol.
In the front right seat, Holly Buffington-Yake, 33, of Cortez was ejected and was pronounced dead at the crash site. Two boys, ages 9 and 10, and a girl, age 12, were seriously injured, Chmielewski said. Two girls, ages 6 and 13, escaped with minor injuries. Only the 9-year-old boy wore a seat belt, the state patrol said in a news release.
The driver, Richard T. Yake, 33, of Cortez was not injured. Yake is the founder of the Mighty Lightning Wrestling Club, and he his wife and children were returning from a weekend wrestling meet at ThunderRidge High School in Douglas County south of Denver. Three of their children participated in the meet.
Isaque Martinez, a longtime friend of Holly Buffington-Yake’s, said the news of her death is a “terrible shock” to the community.
“She was just an amazing person, and everything she did was for her family and her kids,” Martinez said. “She loved wrestling and was always at the matches cheering on the kids.”
Eileen Eichner of the Dolores Wrestling Club on Monday said families in the wrestling community were planning a benefit for the Buffington-Yake family. She can be reached at DoloresWrestlingClub@hotmail.com.
Drugs, alcohol and excessive speed were not considered factors in the crash, Chmielewski said. The crash is under investigation.
Multiple agencies in Archuleta County responded to the crash.
The Journal will update this article as more information becomes available.