A 31 year-old Florida man was found with multiple injuries following a motorcycle accident and a subsequent extensive, multiagency-overnight search for him in blizzard-like conditions Monday near Egnar, 100 miles west of Telluride.
San Miguel County Dispatchers received a call at 2:30am from a party reporting a crashed motorcycle and blood -- but no driver -- on the side of the road on Hwy 141 near mm17 on top the Slick Rock Canyon near Egnar. Egnar Fire and EMS and a Dove Creek ambulance responded to the scene but could not locate the driver. San Miguel County Deputies and Search and Rescue personnel were then dispatched and began what would be a four hour search for the driver. Colorado State Patrol also responded.
The driver told Sheriff’s Deputies he was travelling alone, in route to Boulder when he found he was going too fast to round a corner and slid into a guardrail. That area is noted to have a sudden speed-limit drop from 65mph to 35mph. The man told Deputies he did not see the sign indicating the speed- limit drop. The crash is believed to have happened some time after 9pm Sunday.
The driver told Deputies he waited on the side of the road for passerby assistance until temperatures started falling, the wind picked-up and it started to snow. He decided to walk along the road in an effort to find shelter. He found a small shed about 4.5 miles from the crash site near the Dolores river along side of Hwy 141 and stayed there until dawn.
Temperatures in the area overnight were reportedly as low as 17 degrees with winds gusting up to 40mph.
Search and rescue personnel located the man at approximately 6:47am Monday along the roadway about 80 yards from the shed. Deputies noted what appeared to be a simulated bed in the shed made from bags of dog and horse food.
Dove Creek EMS transported the man to Monticello, Colorado for further care.Deputy Sheriff Chris White, who was on scene, said the man was lucky to be alive. “He was fortunate to have found shelter after a bad accident and cold, windy, winter conditions. This is another situation where the person, even with severe injuries, was “self-rescue” capable. He got himself where he needed to be.”
Sheriff Bill Masters commended the efforts of all involved. “All of the responders, many of them volunteers, deserve a tremendous amount of kudos for coming out in the middle of the night and working through a blizzard to find this man, and I thank them.”