Driver in fatal crash near Red Dirt Hill pleads not guilty |

Driver in fatal crash near Red Dirt Hill pleads not guilty

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

One of the drivers involved in a multiple-vehicle crash on US Highway 40 that killed a Wyoming couple in May has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Last week, 20-year-old Thomas Lange of Granby requested a jury trial after pleading not guilty on two counts of careless driving causing death.

In May, Lange was driving a 2002 Ford F-250 on US 40 north of the entrance to YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch by Red Dirt Hill. He was behind a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu driven by 20-year-old Gavin Laing of Leadville.

According to Colorado State Patrol, the Malibu slowed because the passing lane was about to end, and Lange rear-ended the Malibu in his pickup. The pickup then crossed over into the westbound lane and hit a 2004 Buick sedan head-on.

The front of the sedan was crushed and Lange’s truck rolled onto its side.

The driver of the sedan was Raymond Allen Shelton, 77, of Saratoga, Wyoming, and his wife Betty Jean Shelton, 75, was in the front passenger seat. They were taken to Middle Park Health-Granby and died from their injuries later that day.

Lange was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. Laing was not seriously hurt.

Speed and impairment were not suspected as contributing factors in the crash. The highway was dry at the time and no adverse weather conditions were noted.

Lange’s trial is scheduled for May 12-13. A motions hearing is set for April.

Careless driving causing death carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User