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2 Dead in Colorado Pileup

November 23, 1999

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) _ A car spun out of control in heavy snow and fog on Interstate 70 Monday, causing a chain-reaction crash that involved up to 83 cars and killed two people.

At least 29 people were injured in the collision in the Rocky Mountain foothills, though all but seven were released from hospitals by late Monday.

An 18-year-old woman was in critical condition and a 74-year-old man was in serious condition, hospital officials said. Five more were in fair condition.

``The visibility was so bad you couldn’t see the person in front of you,″ said Shannon Rogers, who appeared to have escaped injury.

``We tried to stop and went sliding off the road and we thought that was the worst of it, but then we kept hearing bangs, squeaking tires and people just kept banging into each other. We just kept hearing people screaming and it just never seemed to stop,″ she said.

The accident, which occurred at about 12:40 p.m. during the area’s first major snowstorm of the season, forced the closure of I-70 in both directions. The eastbound lanes were quickly reopened and the westbound lanes reopened at about 5:30 p.m.

The pileup was triggered when a car spun out of control in the westbound lanes and other cars ran into it as the driver tried to turn around to keep heading west, said Colorado State Patrol spokesman Gary Eyer. Roads in the area were wet but not icy.

Up to 11 inches of snow fell in the foothills Monday before the National Weather Service called off its winter storm warning for the Front Range of the Rockies.

The storm was good news for ski resorts, which dealt with an extremely bad season last year and then delayed opening this year because of unusually balmy weather. Steamboat Springs reported a base of up to 36 inches close to the top.

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