GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A man fell to his death Tuesday afternoon, after his car drove off the side of the Colorado National Monument. The incident took place at the Coke Ovens trail and overlook site.
“So at about 2 O'clock, we received a 911 call for a vehicle that had gone over the edge of Rim Rock Drive,” said Arlene Jackson, Public Information Officer, for the Colorado National Monument.
Jackson estimated the vehicle fell 150 feet to the surface below, and according to Jackson, the driver initially survived the crash, but later died at the scene from his injuries.
“At this point we have no idea of what caused the accident, that will come out in the investigation,” said Jackson.
Mesa County Search & Rescue teams were deployed as they repelled down the side of the cliff in an effort to save the driver.
“Unfortunately in this situation help didn’t come soon enough for this individual but we will work until we can retrieve the individual for his loved ones,” said Megan Terlecky of the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office.
While a number of people have died at the monument for various reasons the last few years, the last death caused by a car driving off a cliff was in October 2007.
“Anytime you are driving through an area that has windy roads pay attention,” said Terlecky.
Now almost 10 years later, crews will work to remove the car, which can be a tough process in itself.
“At some point we will asses what the safest way to get that vehicle out, probably a crane and pulling it back up the cliff edge,” said Jackson.
It’s a process that’s unfortunate to do, especially at a place that brings joy to so many people.