IMOGENE PASS – An elderly couple vacationing from Arkansas had their backcountry all-terrain vehicle ride cut short after rolling their ATV backward late Thursday morning, July 5, near the top of Imogene Pass. One of the passengers, a 73-year-old female, was airlifted to a
The woman was brought off the mountain in the back of a Ouray County EMS SUV and flown to St. Mary’s Hospital via a Care-Flight helicopter out of
The accident happened just before . A call came into Montrose dispatch as an ATV rollover with injuries roughly 200 yards from the top of the pass on the
According to Ouray County EMS Chief Paramedic Norm Rooker, the first response vehicle – a dirt bike – was on scene from Ouray within 40 minutes of the 911 call. Paramedics and members of Mountain Rescue arrived via SUV roughly 50 minutes after the call by taking a gated access road that cuts six miles off the
The woman, who was the passenger on the back of the ATV, was knocked unconscious after the vehicle rolled. The driver of the ATV was her 74-year-old husband. Both were reportedly wearing helmets.
“They rolled it…and they rolled it!” Rooker said. “They were both wearing helmets and [the woman was] still knocked unconscious; and was for some time.”
The woman was brought down via SUV, which has patient transport capability, because “the air was so hot and thin, the helicopter was unable to land and take off safely at two zones we had designated,” said Rooker.
The male driver of the ATV was transported via Ouray Ambulance from the Camp Bird Mine to
The status of both victims was unavailable as of press time, but the woman had “regained consciousness on the way down,” Rooker said.
Fellow off-roader Tom Voelz of
“I got there five minutes after it happened,” said Voelz at the trailhead of Imogene from County Road 26, about two hours after the accident on his way back to
According to Voelz, the accident occurred near the top of the pass on a steep, rock-faced incline section of the road. The ATV rolled backward and “landed in a snowfield a ways down,” he said.
Responding was the Ouray Mountain Rescue Team,
“The rescue went well, I give it an ‘A’,” said Rooker, who didn’t respond, but coordinated the flight transfer with Sheriff Mattivi in Ouray. “There were a few things as we, as a total group, can make it even better next time and we’re working on that.”
This is the first backcountry motor vehicle rescue for the OCEMS and Mountain Rescue Team this summer, Rooker said.
Last year there were six backcountry calls, Rooker noted, which included two ATV, two motorcycle and two Jeep rescues, including a fatality from one of the jeep accidents.
Another ATV accident with injuries occurred Sunday evening on