Speed, inexperience cited in prison van crash

December 29, 2011
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photo - This photo provided by the Colorado State Patrol shows the scene where a prison van pulling a trailer lost control and crashed on Interstate 70 about five miles east of Limon on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. A guard and an inmate were killed in the crash.  Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
This photo provided by the Colorado State Patrol shows the scene where a prison van pulling a trailer lost control and crashed on Interstate 70 about five miles east of Limon on Monday, Dec. 19, 2011. A guard and an inmate were killed in the crash. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

LIMON — Speeding and an inexperienced 22-year-old driver were cited as factors in a prison van rollover accident on an icy Interstate 70 during a snowstorm that killed the driver and a prison inmate and injured eight others.

The Colorado State Patrol in a report released Thursday says the Correctional Corp. of America van driven by Grace Cortez rolled over at least twice before coming to rest on its wheels Dec. 19. Investigators noted driver inexperience as a contributing factor and listed the official cause as exceeded safe speed. CCA did not immediately return a message.

Cortez and another staff member were ferrying nine inmates from the Kit Carson Correctional Facility in Burlington to the Limon Correctional Facility. Inmate 57-year-old Andres Valdez also died in the crash.

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