Coroner IDs elderly couple who died from injuries in Red Dirt Hill head-on crash |

Coroner IDs elderly couple who died from injuries in Red Dirt Hill head-on crash

Speed, impairment not suspected in crash, state patrol says

A late-morning crash on Highway 40, just north of the entrance to Snow Mountain Ranch, claimed the life of two people.
Bryce Martin /

Two people were pronounced dead Wednesday afternoon following a multiple-vehicle crash on Highway 40 several miles east of Granby.

The Grand County Coroner’s Office identified the two as Raymond Allen and Betty Jean Shelton of Saratoga, Wyoming. Raymond was pastor of a Saratoga church.

Emergency crews responded at around 11:30 a.m. to Highway 40 just north of the entrance to YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch after a pick-up truck and Buick sedan crashed on the east side of the highway.

A 2014 Chevrolet Malibu, driven by Gavin Laing, 20, of Leadville, was traveling eastbound on Highway 40 near milepost 219 in the passing lane with a 2002 Ford F-250, driven by Thomas Lange, 20, of Granby, behind it, according to a Colorado State Patrol news release. The Malibu slowed due to the passing lane’s ending and was rear-ended by the Ford, which then drove into the westbound lane colliding head-on with a 2004 Buick sedan.

The front of the sedan was crushed and the truck came to rest on its side.

The driver of the sedan, 77-year-old Raymond Allen Shelton, was immediately transported from the scene to Middle Park Health-Granby. He later died from his injuries.

His wife, 75-year-old Betty Jean, was in the front passenger seat in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Fire crews extricated her by using hydraulic rescue tools. She was also found to be in serious condition and rushed to Middle Park Health-Granby.

She was pronounced dead a few hours later.

The couple also had a dog with them, which died as a result of the crash, according to authorities.

Lange was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. While Laing experienced no injuries and was able to drive away from the scene.

A second vehicle involved in the crash, a pick-up truck, came to rest on its passenger side. The driver experienced non-life threatening injuries.
Bryce Martin /

Grand and East Grand Fire crews responded to the scene, along with Grand County EMS and Colorado State Patrol, which took over the investigation.

Traffic around the scene was rerouted through the entrance of Snow Mountain Ranch to the dirt side road that runs in front of the Red Dirt Hill fire station as crews cleared the scene. Both lanes were reopened at around 3:30 p.m.

The crash remains under investigation. Speed and impairment are not suspected as contributing factors in the crash, according to state patrol. The roadway was dry at the time of the crash and no adverse weather conditions were noted in the immediate area.

Lange was summonsed into court on two counts of careless driving causing death. He will appear July 9.

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