The Ford Bronco Sport — a Jeep Compass competitor based on the Ford Escape platform — has been selling extremely well despite global supply chain issues. Given this, it’s no surprise to see some of the little off-roaders hitting trails around the U.S., and it’s also no surprise that a few are getting into trouble (off-roading isn’t easy). This latest news story out of Colorado shows the aftermath of a Bronco Sport rolling 400 feet down a mountain.
You may have seen a news story back in June about a Ford Bronco Sport that rolled down a hill in New Mexico. “Rolled Ford Bronco Sport Drives Away From Nasty Off-Road Crash Thanks to A+ Recovery Job” reads The Drive’s article on the incident. The car enthusiast site explained the situation, writing:
The silver Outer Banks model was wheeling outside of Albuquerque when it took its fateful tumble nearly 30 feet through sand, cacti, and probably a scorpion nest or two
You can see the recovery and aftermath in this YouTube video from Rowdy Paws 4x4:
A similar but more serious incident occurred this past weekend in Colorado. Per the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook page, a 23 year-old driving a Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend on the treacherous Black Bear Pass has sustained serious injuries after rolling their vehicle off a cliff. The department’s press release from Sunday describes what happened, writing:
Deputies have learned that the women were driving up Bridal Veil Road and entered the one-way Black Bear Pass going the wrong way. The passenger told Deputies they did not see the sign indicating the beginning of the one way pass. After a couple of switchbacks they decided it was best to turn around. The passenger then stepped of the vehicle to help the driver navigate, and while backing up, two of the wheels went high enough on the embankment to cause the vehicle to begin to roll. The 2021 Ford Bronco rolled off the cliff an estimated 400 feet, ejecting the driver, the dog, and the vehicle’s engine before coming to a stop.
The press release provides some information on the condition of the occupants traveling in the vehicle just prior to the crash:
Dog update: 1 year-old golden doodle “Chewy” treated for minor injuries, doing well.
According to initial reports, driver is an out of state 23 year-old female who was ejected and suffered serious injuries. Her passenger was out of the vehicle when rollover occurred and not injured, and a dog was ejected and being treated at a local vet. Fortunately, no hikers or drivers of other vehicles were killed or injured by this falling car or associated debris.
After stating that San Miguel County Sheriff Bill Masters wishes the driver a “good recovery from her serious injuries,” the press release includes Masters’ words of caution about Black Bear Pass:
“Black Bear Pass is an extremely dangerous road and should only be driven by experienced off-road drivers in appropriate off-road vehicles. Legally, a 16 year-old who got his driver’s license a few hours prior, may attempt to drive the pass in his grandmother’s 1980’s sedan. That doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so.”
Having never driven this trail, it’s hard for me to assess whether or not the Ford Bronco Sport Big Bend (which has a fairly basic all-wheel drive system and street tires, and not the more serious hardware of the Badlands trim) would count as an “appropriate off-road vehicle” for the terrain. And I also can’t really say much about the driver’s off-road experience, since I don’t know her. But these are smart words from Sheriff Masters, as the Bronco Sport is one of many new off-road vehicles being marketed to the masses.
As the off-road vehicle segment continues to gain popularity, I think it’s safe to say that we can expect to see more inexperienced people hit off-road trails. The democratization of off-road capability isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important that drivers understand the risks, and learn how to safely navigate tough conditions.
Ford is doing its part on that front, as the company has opened up “Off-Roadeo” locations around the country to teach new Bronco Sport and and Bronco owners how to drive off-road. I really hope people take advantage of that, and I hope this driver ejected from the vehicle (whose passenger compartment looks surprisingly intact given the severity of the rollover) makes a swift recovery from the brutal crash.