Tool caused fatality in construction accident

[  By Mark Reaman  ]

More details of the fatal construction accident that occurred August 2 in Gunnison have been released by authorities. According to Gunnison County coroner Michael Barnes, 54-year-old James Tafoya was killed when a gas-powered metal grinder he was working with on a construction site kicked back and struck him in the neck. 

The accident took place at 11:50 a.m. on the east side of the city at 2401 E. New York Avenue. Gunnison police and EMTs responded quickly and attempted emergency resuscitation efforts but Tafoya was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Tafoya was living in Crested Butte South and Barnes said that while he is waiting on some final reports, the cause of death appears to be a tragic accident due to a tool injury.

Tafoya left behind his wife Regina Splees, her three children and her granddaughter. The family had also lost their home in a house fire in 2020 near Brush Creek, and a fundraiser has been set up for the family at

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