UPDATE: TUESDAY 8/15/2023 4:49 p.m.

(LA JUNTA/LAS ANIMAS, Colo.) — The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) said a vehicle fire that closed Highway 50 on Tuesday morning was due to a semi-truck driver losing control and hitting a guardrail.

According to CSP, around 8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, a Freightliner semi-truck driven by 50-year-old Herman Ross was heading westbound on Highway 50 about three miles east of La Junta. CSP said Ross lost control of the semi and hit the guardrail on the eastbound side of the road.

CSP said the semi rotated clockwise and slid sideways, hitting the bridge railing. The semi immediately caught fire, as it came to a stop in the eastbound lanes, facing south. Ross was able to escape the semi, and was taken to a hospital in La Junta.

Ross suffered moderate injuries, CSP said. The crash is still under investigation. Drugs and alcohol are not being considered as factors in the crash.

ORIGINAL STORY: Highway 50 extended closure between La Junta and Las Animas

TUESDAY 8/15/2023 4:49 p.m.

Highway 50 is closed eastbound at Mile Marker 383, due to a vehicle fire in the area. The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) posted on X (formally known as Twitter) on Tuesday, Aug. 15 about the vehicle fire and said it would be an “extended closure.”

CSP first notified the public about the vehicle fire and closure between La Junta and Las Animas, just after 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, and advised drivers to use Highway 194 as an alternate route.