Girl, 12, dies in camp biking accident

A Delta girl died Monday after falling from a mountain bike while riding down a hill at a summer camp in Hinsdale County.

Venus Stratton, 12, was among approximately 12 people who were riding down the winding hill when she crashed near the end of an afternoon outing with campers and staff at Camp Redcloud, according to Hinsdale County Undersheriff Justin Casey.

“Best I can tell, her head came into contact with a rock,” said Casey, adding the girl wasn’t responsive to witnesses at any point after the apparent accident around 2:30 p.m.

Stratton was pronounced dead by the time a Careflight helicopter arrived from Montrose Memorial Hospital, Casey said.

Camp Redcloud is a Christian-themed operation for children and families and is roughly nine miles southwest of Lake City.

Casey said Stratton, who was attending a weeklong camp, was wearing a helmet when she crashed.

Casey said Stratton and her fellow campers, accompanied by two staff members, were descending a four-wheel-drive road that snakes through the Gunnison National Forest.

“They (staff) were sending kids down one camper at a time, so no other campers saw the accident,” Casey said. “It’s a gradual grade that stair-steps down, and there are curves along the way.”

Casey said a preliminary investigation showed Stratton was the last camper to ride down and was followed by a staff member. That staff member came across the wreck, Casey said.

Casey said the girl had just started her descent when she lost control of the bicycle.

“I’d be surprised if her rate of speed was very high,” he said.

Casey said an autopsy is pending.


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