A spring snowstorm and icy roads Friday caught Colorado drivers by surprise, causing a 39-vehicle pileup near Boulder and other bad wrecks that shut down highways during the morning commute.
No serious injuries were reported in the crashes on U.S. Highway 36 between Boulder and Denver, but tow-truck drivers were kept busy hauling away damaged cars.
Lisa Lai told the Daily Camera newspaper she avoided hitting a crash in front of her and ended up propped against a highway barrier — and out of the way — as other peoples' vehicles piled up.
"My car was just sitting there on this little island on its own," she said. "It was pretty surreal. I feel pretty lucky today."
In Aurora, near Denver, one person died after being thrown from an Oldsmobile Bravada that lost control and rolled on an icy stretch of Interstate 225, striking a passing public bus.
A driver was the only person in the bus and wasn't hurt. Another person in the Oldsmobile was taken to a hospital with injuries that weren't life-threatening, police said.
Near Fort Carson, the Colorado State Patrol responded to a series of rush-hour crashes involving a total of nearly 20 cars.
In the mountains, Interstate 70 was temporarily closed after several trucks spun out on snowy Vail Pass.
At lower elevations, the storm left only light snow on grass, and roads were largely clear because of recent warm weather.
However, motorists driving at normal speeds were surprised by icy patches, especially on bridges, said Trooper James Schmidt of the Colorado State Patrol.
"We're in Colorado. We have four seasons in one day," Schmidt said after the sun emerged.