Two people were killed Tuesday, July 27, when their Jeep Wrangler slid off a Black Bear Pass switchback and fell 927 feet. San Miguel County Coroner Bob Dempsey said Vern and Susan Huntington, from St. Peters, Mo., both died at the scene from massive head injuries.
The accident occurred at approximately 4 p.m.; Vern Huntington, 50, who was driving, was ejected from the vehicle when it went off the road. Susan Huntington, 51, was ejected some 50 feet from where the vehicle came to rest, on a switchback beneath Bridal Veil Falls.
It is unclear what caused the accident, but officials said stormy weather conditions likely restricted visibility as the driver traversed the precarious mountain pass. The driver who reported the accident said he had looked in his rearview mirror and "saw a car that seemed to fall out of the sky," according to San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters.
As authorities dealt with the accident, three hikers stranded in upper Bilk Creek Basin had to be airlifted out by helicopter. The hikers, two women and a child, had become disoriented and used a cell phone to call authorities after getting caught in a storm.