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Fort Garland man dies in fiery crash

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2013

Investigation continues into the cause of this deadly crash on Saturday afternoon just east of Alamosa on Highway 160. The driver of the Ford Taurus, right, was transported to the hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the pickup, left, was pronounced dead at the scene. Courier photo by Keith R. Cerny

LAMOSA — A fiery crash Saturday afternoon east of Alamosa resulted in one death and one serious injury.

Fort Garland resident Paul Erzen, 83, died Saturday after his vehicle collided head on with a vehicle driven by Blanca resident Melissa Widger, 38, and then rolled and caught on fire.

Colorado State Patrol responded to the two-vehicle crash on Colorado Highway 160 two miles east of Alamosa at 1:44 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2.

The State Patrol’s investigation revealed that Erzen was driving a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup truck heading west on Highway 160. Widger was driving a 2007 Ford Taurus going east on Highway 160. The Erzen vehicle traveled into the eastbound lane causing Widger to swerve to the eastbound shoulder, attempting to avoid a collision, according to the State Patrol. The Erzen vehicle collided head on with the Widger vehicle.

The Erzen vehicle traveled off the south side of the roadway and rolled a half time coming to rest on its top facing west where it became engulfed in fire. The Alamosa Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire.

Alamosa County Deputy Coroner Harry Ajelo pronounced Erzen dead at the scene. Widger was transported to San Luis Valley Health with serious injuries.

For the complete article see the 11-05-2013 issue.

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