A collision between a 2001 Hyundai sedan and an International trash truck resulted in the death of Kristina Hutchins, 73, of Paonia, the driver of the Hyundai. The crash occurred Wednesday, May 23, at approximately 2:30 p.m. on Highway 92 near mile marker 9.
The driver of the trash truck, a 67-year-old male from Paonia, sustained serious injuries. A 52-year-old male passenger in the trash truck, also of Paonia, sustained moderate injuries. Both were taken to Delta County Memorial Hospital. Neither of the males was wearing a seat belt. Hutchins was using a seat belt, but died at the scene.
According to the Colorado State Patrol, Hutchins was eastbound on Highway 92, went off the right side of the roadway slightly, returned to the roadway, crossed over both eastbound lanes, and into the path of the trash truck, which was westbound in the westbound lane. The trash truck rolled onto its roof. Drugs/alcohol are not considered as factors. The crash remains under investigation.
In the same area, and at about the same time, a truck pulling a flatbed with a piece of heavy equipment reportedly started several small blazes along the side of the road when a tire caught on fire. The two incidents appeared related but were not.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.