Log In

Reset Password
News Education Local News Nation & World New Mexico

Driver testing new SUV is rescued north of Dolores

Person drove around a closed gate on Dolores-Norwood Road

A driver and his three passengers who got stuck in the snow on a closed road in The Glade on Saturday were rescued by the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office.

The party visiting from Nevada decided to test out a new Toyota 4Runner on the Dolores-Norwood Road north of Dolores, said search and rescue Capt. Keith Keesling.

They had driven around a locked gate where the road was closed for the winter season at the compression station, then drove toward the Salter Y.

Keesling said the Sheriff’s Office will determine whether the driver should be cited.

Four rescuers in two trucks were dispatched, and the stranded party was found near the Salter Y, 10 miles from the closed road gate. No one was injured, and the vehicle was extracted from the snow.

The party had tried for hours to use tree branches to dig the truck out of deep snow and were wet and cold, Keesling said. They did not have overnight gear.

One person in the party had climbed a hill for phone reception and was able to call for help.

The driver was able to drive around the closed-road gate because someone had moved a 400-pound boulder out of the way.

“Just because someone made an illegal path does not make it legal to pass the locked gate,” Keesling said. “The closed gates to the backcountry are there for a reason.”

Roads are closed in winter to prevent road damage, protect wintering wildlife and for public safety.

Ignoring closed-road signs can have unintended consequences, Keesling said.

If the party had been reported missing, searchers would be less likely to look in an area that is closed, he said. Cell service in The Glade is notoriously weak, and it was fortunate the stranded party could call 911.

The Dolores-Norwood Road past the compression station is expected to open this weekend, Keesling said.

Dolores County Search and Rescue was awarded a $53,000 state Flex grant to purchase three tracked ATVs and a trailer for use in rescue operations. (Courtesy photo)

The Dolores County Search and Rescue department was recently awarded a $53,000 Colorado Flex grant to purchase three-tracked ATVs and a trailer for use in winter rescues.


Reader Comments