Four crashes within a mile of each other on northbound I-25 near the Ray Nixon Power Plant slowed traffic for several miles, firefighters estimated Saturday afternoon.
The crashes took place within around an hour and a mile of each other, Fountain Fire Battalion Chief Nate Lenn said.
In total, the chain of crashes involved at least 13 vehicles, and left three injured, two seriously.
The crash that started it all, Lenn said, was a stray car that ran off the road and got stuck in a ditch that was reported at around 10:24 a.m. That incident only involved one vehicle.
Soon after, at 10:43 a.m., the backup caused by onlookers from the first crash produced a second one, which involved three vehicles.
“It was onlookers not paying attention, which caused the accident,” Lenn said.
Colorado State Patrol troopers were able to move the vehicles off the road quickly, Lenn said, but the backup from the first two crashes had already caused a rollover crash that involved five vehicles, but no injuries.
The fourth crash came twelve minutes after the rollover. Three people were injured in this four-vehicle crash — two seriously — and transported to a local hospital.
All crashes had been cleared from the road as of around 1 p.m., Trooper Josh Lewis said.
“Everything should be getting back too normal if it’s not already,” Lewis said.
In light of the chain of crashes, Lenn asked that drivers in the area be mindful of the road, and to not slow down to look at crashes they see on the road.
“It’s just a matter of people paying attention, people just weren’t paying attention to road conditions,” he said.