Cyclist critically injured in monument crash

A 37-year-old cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries this morning when he crashed at high speed while descending the east end of Colorado National Monument and was run over by a vehicle.

Ranger Joel Barnett said the man, a Grand Junction resident who was accompanied by a second rider, had cleared a long straightaway below Cold Shivers Point when he lost control while negotiating a right-hand-turning switchback.

The man, who wasn’t identified, crashed and slid approximately 20 feet along the road before he was run over by an oncoming Jeep’s front and rear driver-side tires.

“It pretty much went across his chest,” Barnett said.

Rangers received the first 911 call at 8:05 a.m.

“We think he just had too much speed,” Barnett said of the moments before the cyclist went down.

Witnesses in a second vehicle behind the Jeep said the cyclist “got shaky with the handlebars and kind of went down,” he said. “She (woman driving Jeep) had no time to react and that was confirmed by the people in the vehicle behind her.”

The road was closed approximately 45 minutes as the rider was flown to St. Mary’s Hospital via CareFlight helicopter.

He was conscious at the scene and suffered multiple rib fractures and a ruptured spleen among other injuries, which Barnett called life-threatening. The rider’s companion ended up tumbling over his handlebars but suffered relatively minor injuries. He was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital.

Barnett said the Jeep was driven by a woman who was accompanied by her mother on a day ride through the park.

No criminal charges are anticipated, he said.


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