Silverthorne cyclist killed on Ute Pass
Joel Bramble, 55, from Silverthorne died on the Grand County side of Ute Pass after colliding with an Oldsmobile Cutlass on Saturday afternoon.
“It sounds like they hit head-on,” said Colorado State Patrol trooper Nate Reid. According to the incident report, the car, which was southbound on Grand County Road 3 about 18 miles south of Parshall, moved into the northbound lane, as did the northbound cyclist. The report seemed to indicate the two were trying to avoid each other and picked the same diversion direction, Reid said.
The Oldsmobile was driven by Becky Smiley, 42, of Granby, according to Grand County’s Sky-Hi News.
The Colorado State Patrol, Grand County EMS, Flight for Life and Grand County Coroner personnel responded to the scene. Smiley was not injured, but Bramble was pronounced dead at the scene.
Dave Verschure, co-owner of Abbey’s Coffee in Frisco, said he met Bramble through Bramble’s co-worker at the Breckenridge City Market. They began bicycling together, mostly along Vail Pass, and they skied together. Last week, they got in a September ski on Webster Pass above Montezuma. Bramble had only recently taken to cruising Ute Pass on the bike, Verschure said.
“I’ve been up there twice the past couple days. It seems kind of dangerous to me,” Verschure said. “At other times, it’s a very empty road. People are going fast, there’s a lot of traffic – maybe more on weekends.
“(Joel) thought it was pretty safe. That was one reason he liked it.”
Verschure said Bramble’s mother and father are still alive in his Grand Rapids, Mich. hometown. He’s survived by nine brothers and sisters.
“Joel was 55 but he just kept getting faster on the bike. He was a strong rider,” Verschure said. “He was my skiing partner, my riding partner – he was my best friend.”
The crash remains under investigation, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The agency has ruled out alcohol and excessive speed as factors leading up to the accident, according to statements released on Saturday.
A bicycle helmet was found on scene and it was determined the rider was wearing it at the time of the accident.
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