The fatal accident occurred near mile marker 28 east of Stoner, said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin. The victim’s identity and place of residence were not released. There were no passengers.
“The Colorado State Patrol is investigating,” Nowlin said. “The river is starting to run high, and the roads were slick and slushy.”
Just after 9 p.m. Friday, Capt. Adrian Driscoll of the Colorado State Patrol said next of kin had been identified.
The driver was Isaiah Deswood, 26, of Red Mesa, Arizona, a small town in Apache County in northeast Arizona. Deswood was driving a 2003 Ford Taurus.
The crash was reported by a passing motorist. Rescuers from the Colorado State Patrol, Dolores Fire, Rico Fire, and the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office responded to the accident that occurred between Stoner and Taylor Creek Road.
Rescuers used ropes to rappel off a roughly 40-foot embankment to reach the car and victim. The crashed closed the highway in both directions.
“We have called hazmat (hazardous materials) to the scene, but it’s just a passenger car, so there shouldn’t be much danger to people or the fish,” said Capt. Adrian Driscoll, of the Colorado State Patrol.
The state patrol had to wait for firefighters to arrive to extract the driver, Driscoll said. A Journal photographer arrived at the scene after the driver had been extracted.
The Journal was unable to verify whether the driver had died in the water.
A wrecker will pull the car from the river.