12 hurt in Denver-area crash involving tour buses amid fog

AP News
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Posted: Apr 17, 2015 5:25 PM
12 hurt in Denver-area crash involving tour buses amid fog

DENVER (AP) — A dozen people were injured in a crash involving tour buses for two different bands and two trucks on a foggy stretch of Interstate 70 east of Denver on Friday, as a spring storm made driving dangerous across Colorado and Wyoming.

A bus carrying crew members for the Brooklyn-based performer Twin Shadow rear-ended a semi-trailer stopped on the highway, seriously injuring 41-year-old bus driver John Crawford, the Colorado State Patrol said. Eleven other people on that bus suffered minor to moderate injuries.

The Twin Shadow bus then hit another truck and a tour bus carrying crew members of the country band Thompson Square. No one in those vehicles was injured.

Both bands were headed to Denver for shows Friday night, but they were not traveling together.

Thompson Square issued a statement saying their thoughts and prayers were with those who were injured.

Dorelle Zahn, the mother of the Twin Shadow's keyboard player Spencer Zahn, told The Denver Post that he texted her to say that he had been in an accident, was in pain but conscious.

The crash happened not far from Denver International Airport, where fog was also a problem. Some smaller regional flight arrivals had to be diverted to Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

In the mountains of Colorado and southern Wyoming, snow was the main issue. Nearly 200 miles of eastbound lanes were shut down between Rock Springs and Laramie because of the weather. The snow was also hampering efforts to clear wreckage from pileups involving about 50 vehicles the day before.

"It's a battle out there," said Ross Doman, a spokesman for the Wyoming Department of Transportation. "The snow is 3 feet deep. It's extremely heavy, wet snow, so regular plows just aren't able to move it. We're trying to get rotary plows up there."

In Colorado, the slippery, wet snow typical of a spring storm led to multiple accidents that closed stretches of I-70 periodically for the second straight day. In the morning, after a stretch through Idaho Springs reopened, it was closed again within 20 minutes after multiple tractor-trailers jackknifed. The mess came as state lawmakers continued to debate whether regular drivers, in addition to trucks, should be required to have snow tires or chains to drive on Colorado's main east-west highway.

The storm is also expected to bring rain and possibly severe thunderstorms to parts of Colorado's Eastern Plains.

It's also bringing a last-minute boost for the state's lagging snowpack and reducing the risk of wildfires.

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Associated Press photographer David Zalubowski in Aurora and writer Bob Moen in Cheyenne contributed to this report.