The worker who died in a construction accident near the base of the ski area was killed by a blast of compressed air that entered his ear and caused a brain hemorrhage, Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Friday.
Hayden resident Brady Meier was working at the base of Steamboat Ski Area on Oct. 9 in a small utility vault, about 3 feet deep, 4 feet wide and 3 feet long, when the cap on a pipe burst off. Meier was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators initially thought the cap from the pipe hit Meier, Ryg said, but after finding that the cap did not strike Meier, they thought it might have been a stroke that happened coincidentally at the same time.
The autopsy was performed in Jefferson County, and Jefferson County pathologist Dr. Ben Galloway visited Steamboat on Thursday to look at the scene of the accident and again examine the body.
"The difficulty in it was that there was no trauma to the outside of the head; it was trauma through the eardrum and eventually into the brain, so it was a little tricky to figure that out," Ryg said.
Investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will continue to investigate the accident.
Church collects winter clothes in Oak Creek
The Parish of St. Martin's in Oak Creek is holding its St. Martin of Tours Winter Coat Drive. Coats, hats and gloves can be dropped off at the Oak Creek Liquor Store during business hours, at Holy Name Catholic Church in Steamboat or at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church any Sunday through Nov. 1. The church, at 301 S. Sharp Ave., will give coats to those in need after noon Mass on Nov. 8.