Gunnison man killed in single-vehicle accident Sunday

Accident while on the way to work

By Mark Reaman

A 19-year-old city of Gunnison resident, Zachery Sean Sowers, was killed Sunday morning, April 19 when the pickup truck he was driving went off the road south of Crested Butte South on Highway 135 and ended up in the East River.

According to Corporal Ivan Alvarado of the Colorado State Patrol, the 2005 GMC pickup truck was being driven by Sowers who was on his way to work in Crested Butte. The truck went off the road near the bridge at mile marker 19 and ended up upside-down in the river. He said the driver was the only one in the vehicle.

Approximately 10 personnel from the Crested Butte Fire Protection District responded to the accident scene Sunday morning. According to fire and EMS chief Rob Weisbaum, an off duty EMT heading home from his shift noticed a bumper in the road at the bridge and thought it seemed out of place. He stopped and checked only to find the vehicle in the river below. He immediately went down to check on victims.

“Officers then arrived on scene and pulled a single victim out and began CPR,” Weisbaum said. “Additional crews hooked a line to the vehicle and our rescue truck to flip it over and search for potential other victims. The water was a little over knee deep and rescuers had difficulty visually seeing due to the damage. No one else was found.”

Sowers was transported to Gunnison Valley Hospital while CareFlight was launched. Weisbaum said CPR was continued for the duration of the transport until he was pronounced dead at GVH.

The accident is still under investigation. Driving conditions that morning were reported to be foggy and slushy. Gunnison County coroner Michael Barnes said an autopsy was performed Tuesday and the cause of death was determined to be drowning. He said it was estimated the accident occurred about 7:50 a.m. Sunday as Sowers was heading to his 8 o’clock shift at Clark’s Market.

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