Elderly pair hurt during plunge off road, cliff

An 81-year-old man and a 77-year-old woman, both from Grand Junction, were recovering at a local hospital from injuries Saturday after their vehicle plunged from a cliff Friday night in southern Mesa County.

A 73-year-old man from Oregon who was riding in the vehicle died at the scene after being thrown from the vehicle, according to Cpl. Denny O’Leary of the Colorado State Patrol.

O’Leary said Saturday he could not release the names of crash victims until the family had been notified.

O’Leary said the woman was driving a 2001 Chevrolet Tracker downhill on Divide Road, about a mile south of Colorado Highway 141, when it careened off the road and landed 72 feet down a cliff, rolling several times.

The dead man was not wearing a seat belt, O’Leary said.

The woman was taken by CareFlight to St. Mary’s Hospital. The man was taken there by ambulance. Both suffered serious injuries, and the woman’s injuries seemed more serious, O’Leary said.

Neither alcohol nor excessive speed is considered a factor in the crash, O’Leary said, and it does not appear the driver attempted to swerve on the roadway.

The edge of a dirt-packed roadway can become soft after heavy rain, which may have been a factor in the crash, he said.

“I’m not saying that it happened in this case, but it very well could have contributed,” O’Leary said.


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