Three people, including two minors, are dead and another four injured after a crash early Friday morning near Rifle on Interstate 70 when an SUV ran into a bear, state troopers said.
Just after 3:30 a.m., a 2007 Chevy SUV hit a bear in the westbound lanes of the interstate then crossed the center median and rolled, sliding through the eastbound lanes and off the south edge of the road, Colorado State Patrol said in a news release.
While rolling, all seven people inside the SUV were thrown from the vehicle, CSP said. None are believed to have been wearing seat belts or child restraints at the time of the wreck.
The bear died.
Eugenio Hernandez, 63, of Carbondale, and 7-year-old Kimberly Hernandez from New Castle were declared dead on scene. Brizeyda - aka Brizeida - was 15 and also from New Castle. She was taken to a local hospital and then flown to Children's Hospital where she died just before 9:30 a.m.
A 9-year-old boy from New Castle - Kimberly's brother - was taken to Children's as well with life-threatening injuries. A 62-year-old woman from Carbondale, Kimberly's grandmother, was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were life-threatening.
The 36-year-old driver, Kimberly's dad, suffered serious injuries.
Another person, a 32-year-old woman, Kimberly's mother, was rushed to a nearby hospital but the status of her injuries aren't known by state troopers.
Troopers said they don't believe drugs or alcohol had anything to do with the crash.
While the crash is still under investigation, no charges have been filed.