A pickup driver in Colorado shut down traffic over Big Bear Pass and Bridal Veil Road after his Ram truck fell off the trail and flipped on Thursday, July 15. The driver and his passengers were not hurt in the rollover, but the accident closed a stretch of the pass just beyond Ingram Falls, according to the San Miguel County Sheriff.
Drivers who know the trail are probably not surprised when incidents like this happen, because rollovers there are not uncommon. Black Bear Pass, otherwise known as Forest Service Road 548, is dangerous enough that the Sheriff has considered closing it before. It’s a majestic trail, but it’s obvious that negotiating the pass is a high-risk, high-reward type of deal.
The accident this time reportedly happened when the Dodge Ram went wide along one of the precarious turns, per the statement from the Sheriff:
The driver of the vehicle told deputies he misjudged the turn and went too far up the cliffside causing the vehicle to turn on its side. All occupants claimed no injury.
Again, no one was hurt but getting the pickup upright and off the trail required two wreckers and that posed a rockfall risk.
The Sheriff (who happens to be the same from our coverage that dates back nearly six years,) said that the fallout from these accidents is handled by his department, despite the the trail technically being in federal jurisdiction:
Sheriff Bill Masters said Black Bear Pass has always been a dangerous pass that has no requirements for skill level or type of vehicle. “While on US Forest Service land, these incidents remain our responsibility, but without any authority. You can be a 16 year-old licensed driver joyriding in your grandpa’s old Cadillac, and I can’t do anything to prevent you from driving that pass. Sure there are signs, but no enforcement, and it is unreasonable and unaffordable to place a deputy up there all day to try and prevent people from making poor driving decisions.”
The Sheriff provided a number of updates as the accident was cleared until traffic resumed early on Friday. This had as good of an outcome as possible, more or less, considering the driver and passengers basically fell off a cliff.