Hunters indicted in grisly death of motorcyclist
A Montrose County grand jury last week returned multiple-count indictments against two hunters who allegedly caused the death of a motorcyclist last year near Crawford and then left the scene of the grisly crash.
Mark Anthony Valdez, 47, of Delta, and Kevin Lee Keener, 43, of Anton, each are charged with vehicular homicide, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment — among other charges — after an incident along Colorado Highway 92 on Oct. 12, 2013, that left 34-year-old Trever Wayne Rawson of Fountain nearly severed in half.
According to the indictments, Valdez, Keener and a juvenile were attempting to drag an elk carcass down a hillside and across the highway by attaching it with a chain and rope to their truck.
With the connection strung across both lanes of traffic, and visibility fading during sunset, Rawson’s motorcycle came barreling down the roadway and he clipped the rope-chain with his chest and helmet, causing a severed spinal cord, according to the indictments.
Valdez was allegedly waving his arms out the window of the truck to get the motorcyclist to stop.
After the crash, Valdez is alleged to have told the juvenile “to help unhook everything and not say anything to anyone,” according to court documents.
Witnesses who arrived at the scene soon after described Valdez and Keener as more interested in loading the elk onto the bed of the truck and getting Keener to the hospital for an arm injury than for the well-being of Rawson.
Both Valdez and Keener left the scene before any first responders arrived, according to the indictments, but returned and offered conflicting accounts to troopers at the scene. Both claimed they left the scene to call 911, but records allegedly show that neither called 911 after the crash.
According to police, both voluntarily spoke with law enforcement but they offered “deceptive” and “conflicting” statements.
Police say both claimed Rawson “just crashed,” and that neither of them used a rope of any kind in the accident. They both denied the presence of the juvenile as well.
That juvenile told police he and the two men consumed beer, hard alcohol and marijuana on the evening of the accident, a detail confirmed in a recorded telephone conversation between Valdez and the juvenile’s father after the crash.
The men are set to appear in Montrose County District Court on Monday morning. In addition to the charges related to Rawson’s death, both also face hunting-related charges as well as contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Valdez faces another charge of failing to aid after an accident involving death.