Retired patrol commander killed in crash

The retired head of the Colorado State Patrol on the Western Slope was killed Saturday in a motorcycle accident in Ouray County.

Robert “Bob” Habliston, 70, of Grand Junction, was riding his 2000 Harley Davidson motorcycle south on U.S. Highway 550 around 1 p.m. when he went over a rise in the roadway and came upon three vehicles, which were stopped and preparing to turn left onto a private driveway, according to State Patrol Sgt. John Hahn.

Habliston tried to brake but lost control of the bike, which collided with another motorcycle operated by 50-year-old Bruce Demaree of New River, Ariz., Hahn said.

Both men were thrown from their motorcycles.

Hahn said Habliston was pronounced dead at the scene. Demaree suffered serious injuries and was transported to Montrose Memorial Hospital. His condition Monday couldn’t be confirmed.

Alcohol is not a suspected factor in the crash, which remains under investigation, Hahn said.

Habliston joined the State Patrol in 1965, rising through the ranks and serving as District Commander in Grand Junction from 1980 to 1992.

In 1994, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel — a position second only to the agency’s chief — and assigned to the State Patrol’s headquarters in Lakewood. He returned to Grand Junction after retirement in 1994.

Habliston and his wife, Susan, both worked for the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department. Robert Habliston joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1994 before retiring in 2005 as a lieutenant in charge of the agency’s support services division.

“He added much value to our organization and served our citizens well; he is greatly missed,” Sheriff Stan Hilkey said in a prepared statement.

Services will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24 1/2 Road.


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