Brighton woman drowns at hot springs


— Police are investigating the death of a Brighton woman who drowned at the Strawberry Park Hot Springs around midnight Sunday.

Patricia Maestas, 37, was found underwater in one of the pools. Patrons came across Maestas as they were walking across the pool and then called for help.

Nurses who were visiting the hot springs administered CPR until an ambulance arrived, attendant Richard Leslie said.

Some of the staff has CPR training. Leslie, who has worked at the hot springs for at least 13 years, said patrons who are qualified to respond to medical emergencies have assisted staff in the past.

Emergency responders continued resuscitation efforts until they reached Yampa Valley Medical Center.

Maestas was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Maestas was at the hot springs with her husband, Routt County Undersheriff Dan Taylor said.

Her drowning went unnoticed.

"There was no commotion," Leslie said. "Nobody really understands why. It's very up in the air."

The hot springs were busy Saturday night. Leslie said a few people left when they heard what had happened, but everyone stayed calm.

Strawberry Park Hot Springs offers naturally heated pools year-round. New customers are not admitted after 10:30 p.m., and everyone must leave at midnight. No one under 18 is allowed after dark.

Customers are encouraged to bring water so they do not get dehydrated.

No alcohol other than 3.2 beer is allowed at the main pools, which are about 4 feet deep.

Police do not yet know if alcohol was a factor in Maestas' death. Autopsy and toxicology tests have been ordered, and results are expected later this week.

The Routt County Sheriff's Office and County Coroner Doug Allen are investigating the drowning.

Taylor said police must interview a few more people who were at the hot springs Saturday night.

Anyone who was visiting the hot springs Saturday night and has more information about the incident is asked to call investigator Ken Klinger at 879-1090.


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