Most read stories of 2016: Breckenridge car crash claims life of mother of one from Blue River (No. 6)
December 26, 2016
Editor's note: From Dec. 22-31, the Summit Daily will be reposting the 10 most-read stories on summitdaily.com in 2016. The below story is No. 6, originally published on Jan. 28, 2016.
A head-on automobile collision just south of Breckenridge claimed the life of a 26-year-old mother of one on Saturday, Jan. 23, shutting down Highway 9 for more than two hours.
At around 5:40 p.m., Chelsea Gold, of Blue River, was travelling south on Highway 9 when her 2005 Ford Focus swerved into the northbound lane and struck a 2012 Jeep Wrangler, said Colorado State Trooper Nate Reid. The two vehicles spun around each other until coming to a stop, the state trooper added.
Though the 43-year-old male driver of the Jeep was unscathed in the crash, firefighters had to use extrication equipment to remove a badly-injured Gold from the wreckage. A Flight For Life crew rushed her to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco, where she later died.
The driver of the Jeep was wearing a seatbelt, while Gold was not, according to Reid. The state trooper also said authorities are investigating whether alcohol played a role in the fatal accident.
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The Summit Coroner's Office said she died from multiple blunt force trauma injuries. The office is still investigating the incident and will release a full report once the toxicology results are available in three-to-six weeks.
Born Aug. 19, 1989, Gold grew up in Emporia, Kansas. She moved to Summit County three years ago. Her 7-year-old son attends Upper Blue Elementary, and her boyfriend, Tony Harris, is a property manager in Breckenridge, where the couple lived for a few years before recently moving to Blue River. Gold's brother also lives in the area.
She worked as the front office manager for the Holiday Inn Express in Frisco for the past three years. A co-worker said Gold always wore a big smile and was incredibly professional. She worked for the hotel company a total of six years after transferring from a Holiday Inn in Kansas.
"She was a beautiful woman, outside and inside, and a wonderful person," said longtime co-worker Andy Bradford, choking back tears. "She was a very vivacious person and really drawn to the mountains and the outdoor lifestyle. She just really loved it here."
According to friends and family, she was an avid snowboarder, hiker, camper, stand-up paddleboarder and also enjoyed live music. In her move to Colorado, she maintained her ardent passion for the Kansas City Chiefs, wearing bright red lipstick and often trading good-natured barbs during football season with colleagues as well as regular guests who supported the rival Denver Broncos.
When the time came for her son to pick between being a Broncos or Chiefs fan, he felt conflicted. But, ultimately, he settled on the Chiefs.
Gold was also a dedicated and reliable employee. She joked with co-workers that they'd have to get rid or her because she'd never leave and worked in a multitude of capacities, among others, planning special events including weddings, working the front desk and training all of the new employees.
"She was incredibly important to our business," said Bradford. "We are totally at a loss without her. She was one-of-a-kind, and is irreplaceable."
Funeral services will be held on the afternoon of Friday, Jan. 29, in Emporia. Online condolences may be made through the funeral home's website (www.robertsblue.com), and memorial contributions can be made to a to-be-established fund benefitting Gold's son.