Arkansas River Claims Third Victim
Man Dies on The Arkansas River
According to the following press release from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office, on June 29, 2019 at 1633 hours the Chaffee County Communications Center received numerous calls of a kayaker floating downriver from the Buena Vista River Park. Emergency personnel immediately responded to the area and began searching for a potential victim.
Information was received that another boater had observed a body in the water near the Wilderness Aware Center in Johnson Village and this boater was now trying to make contact with the body. Emergency personnel and boaters on the water finally were able to pull a male from the water at the River Runners Center. EMS personnel were on scene and the male party was pronounced dead at 1750 hours.
Chaffee County Sheriff, Arkansas Water Headwater, and Buena Vista Police began an investigation and it was learned that Michael Robert James, age 40, from Boulder, Colorado, was paddle boating at the Buena Vista River Park. He was observed to fall in the water and was eventually unable to get back on his paddle board. Boaters in the water initially tried to rescue James, however, he was eventually swept downstream due to high, fast-moving water. Another boater located James in Johnson Village and tried numerous times to pull him to safety but once again high swift water prevented this and this same boater accompanied James to the River Runners area where emergency crews and private citizens pulled James out of the water but at this time he was deceased.
The Chaffee County Coroner responded and took possession of Mr James.
Road Trip: Summer Safety Review
Summertime usually means a road trip or two for most Leadvillites. But if part of that adventure means getting out on your favorite motorcycle, then there’s a few facts and some good safety measures that should be reviewed.
First, the Colorado Department of Transportation recently reported motorcycle crashes are up 32% in Colorado since 2011 with 103 riders killed in 2018 alone. In simple terms, more people on Colorado roads mean more accidents.
Secondly, simple tips for motorcycles riders can help, but those in cars should also be checking their blindspots for riders, as reminded by Trooper Cutler in this month’s Trooper Tips column. Enjoy the open road, but do it safely!
Trooper Tips: Motorcycle Safety
By Trooper Gary Cutler, Colorado State Patrol
According to the meteorologists, it is now officially summer. So that means there will be a lot more motorcycles on our roadways. So that is this month’s topic.
I was a motor officer for the State Patrol for 11 years, so I have a few insights when dealing with this topic. No matter what angle or side you pick on the subject, it always comes down to one important item: safety for everyone involved is paramount.
When it comes to motorcycles, they are smaller and quicker than other vehicles and have ways of hiding in the blind spots of drivers. When driving, do a double look of your blind spots to make sure a motorcycle has not slipped into that hidden area. Motorcycles riders make sure you aren’t hanging out in the blind spot. Remember if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.
At intersections, it’s important for riders to make sure they have eye contact with other motorists so you know they are aware you are there. This is especially true when making left turns.
Drivers make sure you maintain an adequate following distance behind motorcycles. Rear-ending a motorcycle can be deadly to the rider. Motorcycles are legally entitled to their own lane of traffic. In no situation are you allowed to drive or pass a motorcycle while in the same lane. The same goes for the motorcycle rider. Just because you are smaller, does not mean you get to pass a car in the same lane.
From my experience of riding, I know its fun to really come in fast and low on the lean when navigating tight curves, but it is dangerous. If you’re in the curve and run across an animal or object in the roadway, odds are you are going to hit it or at least go down hard. Use caution when riding in the hills. One of the most common reasons for single motorcycle crashes that I investigated is going too fast around curves.
Here are a few quick tips for motorcycle riders:
- Follow traffic rules, this means to go the speed limit, don’t pass on solid lines.
- Ride defensively; limit lane changes just to get around traffic. Watch for oncoming cars and obstacles on the roadway. Leave room for an escape route.
- Keep your riding skills honed through education: Take advanced motorcycle riding courses. It’s easy to get a motorcycle license, so learn the skills needed to stay safe.
Lastly, I personally recommend wearing a helmet. I know Colorado does not have a mandatory helmet law, but all it takes is one mistake on your part or others that can be the difference between life and death. Live to ride another day, wear a helmet, safety glasses, and leather gloves. Remember that there is no such thing as a fender-bender for a motorcycle rider. They are completely exposed.
As always, safe travels!
According to the Lake County Public Works Department officials the seasonal mountain passes are slowly beginning to open as historic snow levels melt and roads clear for passage. Here’s the latest from the local road and bridge crews:
“As you can see Weston Pass summit is accessible from the Lake County side. The second picture is a stuck vehicle just down from the summit on the Park County side. Hagerman Pass Road/Lake County Road 4 is only open to FS 105A (the powerline road) very little room to turn around. Mosquito Pass/Lake County Road 3 is open for 1 mile past the Diamond Mine. Snow drifting on the shelf parts of this road.”