Driver still in hospital after Tuesday plunge into river

A man remained hospitalized today, two days after his vehicle went off Interstate 70 in New Castle and he had to swim to shore.

Authorities this morning closed an eastbound lane of I-70 for several hours to allow crews to remove the vehicle from the river.

The man’s name hasn’t been released and the accident remains under investigation. New Castle police officer B.T. Harper said it occurred about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning during icy and snowy conditions.

He said the Ford Expedition hit about 90 feet of guardrail before vaulting over the embankment and into the river. It landed upright and the current pushed it until it came to rest on an underwater boulder, and only partially submerged.

Harper said the man is in Valley View Hospital, and was in the intensive care unit as of Wednesday evening. He didn’t know the nature of the man’s injuries.

He said drugs and alcohol aren’t considered factors in the accident, but the vehicle’s speed may have been a factor.

Search and rescue crews from Garfield and Summit County helped with today’s vehicle rescue. Harper said it involved using boats to paddle cables out to the vehicle so tow trucks could winch it back to shore.

No environmental contamination resulted from the accident, he said.


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