Hernandez suffered serious injuries to his legs when he was pinned between the bumper of his own pickup and the rear of the stranded vehicle on Tuesday, April 1. The accident occurred around 8:15 a.m. on an ice-packed U.S. Highway 550 near mile marker 81 on the Ouray County side of Red Mountain Pass.
According to the Colorado State Patrol’s accident report, Hernandez was following his friend Javier Francisco-Garcia down the pass when Garcia’s Volkswagen Jetta slid off the road and became stuck. Hernandez stopped his Chevy pickup perpendicular to the road, blocking “most of the lane of travel on a blind curve,” the report read, to pull the Jetta back onto the road. The report stated that after Hernandez and Garcia exited their vehicles, a semi-truck, unable to stop on the snow-slicked road on a blind curve, struck Hernandez’s truck, pinning him between the Jetta and the pickup.
“It was as slick as I’ve ever seen the road up there,” said Ouray County Sheriff Dominic Mattivi, who was one of the first responders. “[Hernandez] had hooked on to pull the Volkswagen and partially blocked the road, and the semi came around the curve and started into the other lane to try to get around the truck, but the trailer slid over and hit the truck, which then scissored [Hernandez] who was digging out snow between the cars.”
Hernandez was the only one injured in the accident, and the State Patrol issued a citation to Garcia for careless driving causing bodily injury as well as for driving without a valid license.
Responding to the call was Mattivi, the Squad 11 extrication team, the state patrol, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Ouray Ambulance, which transported Hernandez to Montrose Memorial Hospital.
“We had the proper resources up there, and it went well considering the conditions,” Mattivi added.
The accident closed the pass until just after noon.