A 34-vehicle pileup north of Monument closed northbound lanes of Interstate 25 for several hours Monday morning and sent 12 people to the hospital.

None had life-threatening injuries, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nate Reid.

The pileup on the icy interstate happened about 8:40 a.m. at mile marker 172 near Larkspur, and was the result of three separate crashes in the area that involved four tractor-trailers, Reid said.

The interstate reopened about 1 p.m.

Of the 12 people taken to the hospital, seven were sent to Skyridge Medical Center in Denver, two to Swedish Medical Center in Denver, two to Penrose Main Hospital and one to Memorial Hospital North, Reid said.

Ciara Montoya, who was headed from Colorado Springs to Denver, was one of the drivers caught in the pileup after getting over Monument Hill.

She saw a semi hit the guard rail on the left side of the northbound lanes and then rebound into the cab of another semi. She slammed on her brakes and then slid underneath one of the trucks. Another car then slammed into her.

“The roads didn’t look that bad, it was just a little area right on top of Monument Hill that was really icy,” she said.

Montoya didn’t notice how bad the roads were until she had to slam on her brakes.

“I couldn’t stop,” she said.

Her 2010 Toyotal Camry was totaled, but at least she was alive, she said. 

Maile Gray, director of Drive Smart Colorado Springs, said that fall can be a dangerous time on the roads because many drivers aren’t prepared for the changing conditions.

“Even people who have lived in Colorado all of their lives always seem to be caught off-guard when the weather changes,” she said. She said the conditions can be especially deceptive along the Front Range, where the weather can change suddenly.

“During the shoulder season like we’re seeing today, weather can be totally fine in Colorado Springs and then they go over Monument Hill and boom, it’s a totally different climate,” she said.

Driving conditions should be improving throughout the week. In Colorado Springs, the weather is expected to warm up through the week and top out in the low 60s by Friday. Near the crash scene in Larkspur, the weather should be slightly cooler but no snow is in the forecast for the rest of the week.


Contact the writer at 636-0274.