Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Steamboat Springs Never before in the nine years that Marcia and Jason Cobb have owned Steamboat Snowmobile Tours has a client been badly hurt.
But last week, a Michigan woman died when she was hit by a truck while crossing U.S. Highway 40 near Dumont Lake on a snowmobile.
On Wednesday, Marcia Cobb said that to the best of her knowledge, nothing like that had happened in 20 years of the tours' history.
"Our hearts go out to that family," she said.
Carol Wayland, 42, of Sylvan Lake, Mich., was on a snowmobile tour with her husband of six months on Jan. 10, when she drove onto U.S. 40 between two snow banks and was struck by a lumber truck headed west into Steamboat Springs, according to reports.
Truck driver Steven Lynn Bush of Craig, 54, was not speeding at the time of the accident and was able to slow from 50 mph to 40 mph before he struck Wayland, according to Colorado State Patrol reports.
Grand County Coroner Dave Schoenfeld performed Way--land's autopsy because the accident occurred on a stretch of U.S. 40 that lies within Grand County boundaries. "We listed on her death certificate that she died from head and internal injuries," Schoenfeld said.
Schoenfeld said Wayland was pronounced dead when she got to Yampa Valley Medical Center at about 3:15 p.m., more than an hour after the accident occurred.
However, Schoenfeld said he doubted Wayland lived much longer after she was hit.
"I am sure she died on impact," he said.
Schoenfeld said several people performed CPR on Wayland to resuscitate her.
Schoenfeld said Wayland's toxicology reports showed she had no drugs or alcohol in her system at the time of the accident.
Cobb said that through the years, she had received reports that riders on her tours had experienced minor injuries, things you would expect with any type of sport, but nothing major.
Cobb said she did not know why Wayland was crossing the road or whether a tour guide was directing her across the highway.
"I wasn't there. All I can say is what I've read in the reports," she said.
Cobb said she was not conducting any type of internal investigation.
Cobb said the area at which Wayland was crossing U.S. 40 is an area that is designated as a snowmobile crossing, where private users and tour clients cross the highway.
"We've had an amazing safety record," she said. "We hire great (guides). We have a great relationship with the U.S. Forest Service."
Cobb said Wayland and her husband, along with the other riders on that day's tours, like every other tour, went through a 15-minute orientation to the equipment as well as safety training before the tour began. Cobb said guides typically continue to educate riders throughout the tour, especially when the riders come to tight turns on a trail, a crossing or a meadow.
"Our guides go through our procedures with our guests many times. They will reiterate safety precautions any time they feel they need to," she said.
Cobb said tour groups usually consist of one guide to six snowmobiles. She did not know how many people were on the tour Wayland took.
Initial reports from the Col--orado State Patrol indicate Wayland was at fault for the accident. The driver of the semi was not issued a ticket.
"We have a huge commitment to safety. This has been shocking to us," Cobb said.
-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org