A tow truck driver has been cited with careless driving causing bodily injury in Saturday’s crash on U.S. Highway 160 between Bayfield and Elmore’s Corner.
The tow truck, being driven by Donovan Villarial, 21, of Durango, was parked on the wrong side of the road with the rear of the truck extended into the road, said Trooper Sierra Ziegler with the Colorado State Patrol.
A white Chrysler Town & Country van being driven by Isis Gonzales, 20, of Bayfield was traveling west toward Durango when it struck the rear of the truck, Ziegler said.
The crash occurred about 9:25 p.m. in front of Lon’s Automotive, 36111 U.S. Highway 160. The tow truck, with S&R Affordable Towing, was on a service call to pick up a silver Pontiac Torrent that lost a wheel, Ziegler said.
The van rotated clockwise off the highway, which caused serious injuries to a 10-year-old girl in the passenger seat. The girl was taken to Mercy Regional Medical Center, then flown to the Children’s Hospital in Colorado Springs with “serious injuries, but not life-threatening” injuries, Ziegler said.
The State Patrol declined to release the girl’s name because she is a minor.
The driver of the van suffered minor injuries, as did a juvenile who was in the passenger seat of the tow truck. Both had been released as of Tuesday night, Ziegler said.
No drugs or alcohol are suspected.
Occupants of the van wore seat belts. The 10-year-old girl was trapped in the vehicle and had to be extricated. The vehicle was smoking after the crash.
Ziegler said the tow truck had no emergency lights activated.
“There’s no way that she (the driver of the van) would be able to see the black bed of the tow truck in her lane of travel until it’s too late,” she said. “... She was driving in her lane of travel. There was nothing she could have done to avoid it.”