State Patrol investigators say they are looking at alcohol possibly being a factor in the deadly multi-car crash that tied up eastbound I-70 near Morrison for hours this past Sunday.
Officers responding to the accident just after 11am found an empty bottle of Fireball whiskey and an unopened beer in the pickup of 54-year-old Jeffrey Stumpf of Evergreen. Stumpf had been traveling westbound on 70 just prior to the accident, veered off the left side of the highway, through the 80-foot-wide median, and into oncoming traffic in the eastbound lanes.
CSP officials say the initial investigation did not turn up any evidence on either the roadway or the median that Stumpf ever tried to brake before crossing into the wrong side of the highway, despite the fact that he travelled more than 375 feet through the median – more than the length of a football field.
52-year-old Jodie Stewart of Idaho Springs was driving an SUV that was the first car hit by Stumpf – she was declared dead at the scene. Stumpf hit three more vehicles in the course of the accident, injuring six more people, and Stumpf himself was rushed to St. Anthony’s hospital in Aurora, but later died of his injuries.
The Jefferson County Coroner has scheduled an autopsy on Stumpf and will try to determine his blood alcohol content at the time of the accident. Final toxicology results may take several weeks.