Texting, prescription drug use, speed probed in fatal Hwy 285 crash

Victims' names released

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - Prescription drug use, texting and excessive speed are being investigated as contributing factors in a  head-on collision on U.S. Highway 285 that killed one person and injured four others, the Colorado State Patrol said Friday.

The victim who died in the crash near Pine Junction Thursday was identified as an elderly Nebraska woman.

The Colorado State Patrol said a 2011 Mitsubishi Lancer was traveling southbound on Highway 285, near milepost 230 just after 3 p.m. 

"The Mitsubishi traveled across a painted center median and into the northbound lane, colliding head-on with a northbound 2009 Kia Optima," the Colorado State Patrol said in a news release.

A passenger in the Kia, 73-year-old Charlene Page of Broken Bow, Neb., was pronounced dead at the scene.  The Kia's driver, 54-year-old Rhonda Rodriguez of Thornton, and another passenger, 76-year-old Paul Page of Broken Bow, both sustained life-threatening injuries. The Kia's fourth passenger, 60-year-old Francisco Rodriguez of Thornton, sustained serious injuries.

The Mitsubishi's driver, 51-year-old Michelle Whyte of Pine, also sustained life-threatening injuries. 

All occupants were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the crash. 

All of the injured were transported to St. Anthony's Central Hospital for treatment; Paul Page and Rhonda Rodriguez were transported via Flight For Life, while Whyte and Francisco Rodriguez were transported via ambulance.

Highway 285 was closed for approximately 5 hours for the crash investigation.


View U.S. Highway 285 Crash near Pine Junction in a larger map - Mobile link to map: http://goo.gl/maps/6OT2z

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