Woman survives fatal accident

Authorities suspect driver fell asleep


— A 48-year-old Walden woman walked away from an accident Saturday where a truck rolled numerous times killing the driver.

Sandra Lesher suffered minor injuries in the accident where a truck plunged 100 feet down a ravine on Rabbit Ears Pass. The driver of the truck, Steven Norman Munk, was ejected and killed.

The 45-year-old Walden man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Once the truck came to a stop on its roof, Lesher was able to climb out of the truck and walk up the hill to where an ambulance was able to pick her up.

Lesher was treated for cuts and bruises at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She also underwent a variety of tests to ensure she did not suffer internal injuries.

Lesher was discharged from the hospital Saturday evening, said Karl Gills, the hospital's chief executive officer.

According to an accident report by the Colorado State Patrol, neither Lesher nor Munk were wearing seatbelts as the maroon Ford F-350 diesel truck traveled eastbound on U.S. 40.

Authorities suspect Munk fell asleep at the wheel and the vehicle went off the right side of the road near milepost 146 at about 2:30 p.m.

The truck went straight instead of following a left-hand curve in the road about 300 yards west of the pass' west summit.

The truck struck a delineator post and traveled down a steep embankment, the report shows. There is no evidence to suggest Munk tried to stop the vehicle.

The truck traveled a total of 258 feet off the road. As it went off the side of the hill, it clipped a number of pine trees, which were split in half. Parts of the truck were found tangled in the trees.

Munk was ejected when the vehicle rolled and the truck eventually came to a rest upside down at the bottom of the ravine.

A motorist reported the accident by stopping at a Colorado Department of Transportation office six miles from the accident. By the time an ambulance arrived at the scene, Lesher was at the top of the hill.

Munk's death is the first traffic fatality of the year in Routt County and the first to happen on the pass in 13 months.

Routt County Coroner Doug Allen said Munk died because of head injuries. Allen said toxicology tests will be done to determine if drugs or alcohol were a factor.


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