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Trucker Pleads Guilty in Double-Fatality Blizzard Crash

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White outRichard E. Widmier’s name was in the news in April of 2009, when his truck collided with a jeep, killing two Grand Junction women, Ginger M. Gillespie and Lois A. Kelton, while he was speeding during a blizzard.

The Denver Post provides some detail:

Authorities said Widmier was driving a tractor-trailer about 5:40 p.m. on Interstate 70 about 7 miles west of Limon in a blizzard.

Gillespie was driving a 2007 Jeep Liberty about 15 mph.

Widmier’s rig hit the Jeep at speeds estimated at between 56 and 63 mph.

Between 56 and 63 miles per hour in whiteout conditions? That speed in those conditions is a recipe for fatalities, as this unfortunate crash demonstrates:

After being hit by the rig, Gillespie’s Jeep spun sideways and collided with the rear of a 1998 Ford F-150 pickup driven by a 28-year-old man from Greeley.

According to the reports, Gillespie and Kelton were inside the vehicle when it burst into flames. They were pronounced dead on the scene. Fortunately, there are no reports of injury to the driver of the Ford pickup.

Now, 17 months later, we get a bit of fresh news about the case. Widmier pled guilty to the charges. Kim Nguyen, a web editor for The Denver Channel, reports:

A 64-year-old trucker from Texas has pleaded guilty in causing the deaths of two women who were killed during a 2009 snow storm. Richard Widmier pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide. He entered his plea in state court, state prosecutors in Elbert County said Wednesday.

Sentencing in the case is set for November 12 of this year.

Image by bradleygee, used under its Creative Commons license.


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