The cause of the accident has not been officially determined by the Colorado State Patrol, but witnesses say it was sparked by the driver of a semi truck carrying 6,000 gallons of asphalt oil. They say he was driving too fast down one of the many sharp turns in Clear Creek Canyon.
The semi was heading westbound on U.S. 6 near Tunnel 1 just before 2 a.m. when it collided with an oncoming Jeep. A sedan trying to avoid the wreck rolled over into Clear Creek. A second sedan drove into the semi, which also rolled.
Paramedics rushed a total of five people to the hospital, with two in critical condition and two in serious condition. The semi driver was the fifth injured party, and is said to have minor injuries.
Sandra Paris, the mother of victim Chris Paris, said her son and his girlfriend Jessica, also a victim, are happy to be alive.
“It was just really scary,” a teary-eyed Sandra said. “My son and Jessica are fine, they just need to be looked at for some bumps, bruises and trauma. It was just a really scary experience for a mom to get a call like this at 2 in the morning.
U.S. 6 has been closed in both direction as police continue to investigate and clean up the scene, which contains a large amount of spilled asphalt oil. There has been no timetable given by CSP for when it might reopen.
Some of that oil spilled into Clear Creek, but according to CSP, the creek is frozen, so none of the oil was able to contaminate the body of water.