OURAY COUNTY – A 25-year-old man whose vehicle plummeted over the edge of US 550 Red Mountain Pass on Sunday night, Aug. 31 spent a night exposed to the elements before emergency responders learned of the accident and rescued him on Monday morning.
The single-vehicle accident happened at around 9:30 p.m. just south of the Bear Creek Bridge, in the Ruby Walls area not far from Ouray.
According to preliminary reports, a 1994 4-door green Chrysler sedan registered in Montrose plunged about 200 feet down a steep scree embankment between Mile Markers 90 and 91 before coming to rest in a thicket of pine trees.
The driver, Caleb Schiller, had no passengers and survived the plunge. He was able to extricate himself from the wreckage and climbed about 150 feet up the slope, but collapsed about 40 feet shy of the highway, where he spent the remainder of the night.
Colorado State Patrol was informed of the accident at 8:17 a.m. on Monday morning, Sept. 1. The Ouray Mountain Rescue Team was paged to the scene and reached Schiller by about 8:45 a.m. OMRT members transferred him onto a litter and executed a medium-angle evacuation using a winch attached to a rescue truck parked on the highway, to ease the litter up the slope.
As the hour-long rescue operation was executed, heavy holiday traffic backed up along the highway in both directions. The patient was transferred to a waiting ambulance by about 9:40 a.m. allowing normal traffic flow to resume.
The accident is still under investigation by the Colorado State Patrol. No more information about Schiller’s condition is available at this time, nor is there any word yet as to how the accident was reported.
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