Man dies after rock hits SUV
A man driving through Snowmass Canyon late Friday afternoon was killed after a boulder came crashing through his windshield and struck him in the head.
The rock, which authorities said was about the size of a cooler, landed in the back seat of his black Chevrolet Tahoe where it delivered a glancing blow to one of the man's three sons. The boy, 11, suffered minor to moderate injuries. The other two boys, ages 8 and 6, and their mother were uninjured, according to Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Rich Armstrong.
The man was identified as Thomas Murphy of Kansas City, Mo. He was 45.
Authorities at the scene said the 911 call initially came in as a report of reckless driving. Another motorist apparently saw the SUV weaving downvalley as the man's wife steered the vehicle from the passenger seat.
Heather Rousseau/Aspen Daily News
"He'd been hit. His wife was trying to maintain some control of the vehicle. She put it in neutral and was hoping to coast but it took 1.2 miles for the Tahoe to come to a stop because they were going downhill," Sgt. Armstrong said.
The vehicle was travelling approximately 50-55 mph when the rock hit it at about 4:50 p.m., snarling the downvalley rush hour.
The family was transported to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs where Murphy was declared deceased.
The Murphys were vacationing here from Missouri, authorities said, and were beginning the drive back to Kansas City when the accident occurred. They had mountain bikes attached to the back of their vehicle.
The tragedy calls to mind the death of an 11-month-old boy who was hit in the head with a rock about the size of a brick on Highway 133 in February 2007; a 7-year-old Carbondale boy who died in January 2002 when boulders fell from the side of South Canyon and crushed the passenger side of his step-father's truck; as well as Aspen resident Art Daily who lost his
wife and two children when a boulder fell from the walls of Glenwood Canyon in 1995 and crashed into their car. The rock missed Daily.