Firefighters work to remove Darwin Ritchie, 55, of Grand Junction, from a car he was driving Thursday morning on U.S. Highway 30 that slammed into the back of a vehicle that had stopped to turn.
Firefighters work to remove Darwin Ritchie, 55, of Grand Junction, from a car he was driving Thursday morning on U.S. Highway 30 that slammed into the back of a vehicle that had stopped to turn.

December 2, 2016

A 55-year-old Grand Junction man struck a stopped sport-utility vehicle with his car on U.S. Highway 30 just west of Carroll Thursday when he reached for his ringing cellphone and looked away from the roadway.

Darwin Duane Ritchie, a technician for Computer Concepts in Carroll, was on his way to a service call in Halbur about 8:49 a.m. when he struck the vehicle — which was stopped to make a left turn — at highway speed, according to a sheriff’s crash report and Adam Schweers, Ritchie’s employer.

“Based upon the look of the car, he’s extremely lucky,” Schweers said.

Ritchie suffered a broken femur, hip, ankle and foot, Schweers said. Ritchie underwent surgery at St. Anthony Regional Hospital Thursday and expects at least one more surgery in the coming weeks.

Ritchie wore a seatbelt at the time of the crash. He was stuck in the crumpled car, and firefighters worked to free him.

The driver of the sport-utility vehicle, Denae Michelle Rosdail, 32, of Carroll, suffered a back injury. She was dazed as she sat along the highway not long after the crash as paramedics tended her.

There were no passengers in either vehicle.

“Both myself and the other driver are very fortunate to be alive, and I pray for him and his family as from what I have heard he will have a long road ahead of him,” Rosdail wrote on Facebook. “I am extremely bruised and scraped up, and my entire body hurts but am so fortunate to be home and resting.”

Rosdail pleaded online for people to leave their cellphones alone while driving.

“It’s not worth this,” she wrote. “I am not upset with this driver. ... I am OK. I am alive and will use this to be an advocate against distracted driving.”

Rosdail’s 2002 Toyota Sequoia had a estimated $3,500 worth of damage. The estimated damage to Ritchie’s 2015 Chevrolet Cruze was $15,000.

Ritchie has not been cited for a traffic violation.