RIFLE, Colo. - Three people were killed, including a pair of sisters and their grandfather, after the SUV they were driving in slammed into a bear on Interstate 70 near Rifle early Friday morning.
The Garfield County Coroner has now identified Kimberly Hernandez, 7, and her grandfather, Eugenio Hernandez Altamirano, 63, as those pronounced dead at the scene. Hernandez’s sister, Brizeyda, 15, died later at the hospital.
The girls' parents, grandmother, older sister, and brother were taken to hospitals in Glenwood Springs and Rifle, with critical injuries.
According to Colorado State Patrol, the group was driving a 2007 Chevy SUV when it struck the bear and rolled into the median near the Rifle exit. Troopers say several of the occupants in the SUV were ejected during the crash.
The crash and subsequent investigation closed several lanes of I-70 in the area. Troopers did not say if the bear survived the crash.
The investigation into the cause and manner of deaths is ongoing.