Mesa State student killed in SUV crash

A Mesa State College student was killed and three other Mesa State students were injured Saturday afternoon after the car they were traveling in blew a tire and rolled on Interstate 70 near Gypsum, the Colorado State Patrol said.

The driver, Enrique Gutierrez Jr., 19, of Mancos, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which occurred just before 3 p.m. near mile marker 140, troopers said.

A 1991 Toyota 4Runner was traveling east on I-70 when the right rear tire failed and Gutierrez lost control of the vehicle. The 4Runner swerved into the median and rolled 2 1/2 times, according to the State Patrol.

The two back-seat passengers, 19-year-old Nicholas Ludwig of Berthoud and 20-year-old
Kathryn Ball of Evergreen, were not wearing seat belts and were ejected.

The right-front passenger, 20-year-old Corrigan Conroy of Grand Junction, was wearing a seat belt and remained inside the vehicle during the crash.

Conroy and Ludwig were taken to Vail Valley Medical Center with minor injuries, Cpl. Dennis Gibbons said Saturday night. Ball was airlifted to Denver Health Medical Center with serious injuries, he said.

Gutierrez was wearing a seat belt but was pronounced dead at the scene by the Eagle County coroner.

“The crushing of the roof was right over the driver’s seat,” Gibbons said.

The State Patrol is investigating the accident but indicated the age of the tire likely contributed to its blowing out.


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