Bayfield resident and well-known doctor Richard Grossman was reading The Durango Herald in the passenger seat of his Toyota Prius on his way to Pagosa Springs on Friday when he looked up to see an oncoming Ford F-250 pickup.
“The next thing I knew, we crashed. The windshield was in small pieces. The airbags had deployed,” said Grossman, a retired OB-GYN. The doctor is known in town for his work with Planned Parenthood and his column in the Herald, called “Population Matters.”
Grossman and his wife, Gail, were on their way to a music festival when Jeromy Cooper, 46, hit them with his truck about 1 mile west of the Piedra River on U.S. Highway 160.
At the time, the Colorado State Patrol said Cooper may have been driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The State Patrol did not return a phone call Monday seeking an update, including whether any citations had been filed.
Gail Grossman, who was driving the Prius, hit the brakes before impact, slowing the car from 65 mph to 45 mph, Richard Grossman said. State Patrol told Grossman that Cooper was traveling at 39 mph, he said.
Gail also steered to the right, avoiding a full head-on crash, he said.
“I am really pleased that she didn’t go off the highway, off the hard surface, because we might of rolled and ended upside down,” he said.
All three crash victims were taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center. Cooper, a Mancos resident, was released from the hospital after the crash, said hospital spokeswoman Sarah Silvernail.
Grossman, 75, said he broke at least one rib, cut his left leg and fractured his sternum. He has since been released from the hospital. It is the second time Grossman has been seriously injured in a traffic accident in recent years. He was hit by a car while crossing Main Avenue in November 2016.
Gail Grossman remained at Mercy on Monday after fracturing two ribs and breaking her left leg, Richard Grossman said. The break in her left leg will likely require two surgeries, he said.
Gail Grossman may spend time at Cottonwood Inn Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center to recover from her injuries, he said.
Grossman said the couple appreciate all of the calls, emails and text messages they received after the crash.
In particular, two of the Grossman’s friends, Dave and Sue Austin, both health professionals, happened to be passing by about 5 minutes after the crash and stayed with them, he said.