Illinois man hurt when motorcycle hits elk near Rabbit Ears Pass |

Illinois man hurt when motorcycle hits elk near Rabbit Ears Pass

Brent Boyer

— An Illinois man was seriously injured late Monday night when his motorcycle hit an elk on Colorado Highway 14 north of Rabbit Ears Pass.

The man, Douglas W. Welty, was headed south on Colo. 14 at about 10:15 p.m. when he tried to swerve to avoid elk in the road, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Wes Kartus said. Welty's 2008 motorcycle struck an elk in the northbound lane and went off the side of the highway.

Both Welty and his female passenger were ejected from the motorcycle, Kartus said. They were conscious and talking to emergency personnel who arrived at the scene after the crash.

Welty was airlifted by helicopter to St. Anthony Hospital in Denver, where he was listed in serious condition Tuesday afternoon. Kartus said Welty is believed to have suffered back and chest injuries as well as possible broken bones.

The female passenger suffered less serious injuries and was transported by ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat, Kartus said.

Law enforcement agencies closed Colo. 14 for about 30 minutes late Monday to allow the helicopter to land and load Welty for transport.

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Kartus said it appears Welty was driving at the posted speed limit at the time of the accident. He said the roads were wet from Monday night's rain, and it's likely those conditions played a role in the crash.

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