Garfield County Sheriff’s Office
Date: August 7, 2021
Time: 9:00 AM
GARFIELD COUNTY, CO. – Shortly after 6:00 PM Friday, August 6, 2021, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a Greyhound bus was stuck approximately 22.5 miles up the Coffee Pot Springs Road. There were 21 people on board including at least one elderly female with heart conditions.
Sergeant Baker immediately set out from Glenwood Springs to reach the site and bring the female down from this high mountain road. The Coffee Pot Springs road is a dirt and gravel road used to access the White River National Forest wilderness area. The road is generally travelled by four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles and is not an alternative route around Glenwood Canyon.
Sergeant Burris also deployed from Glenwood Springs, with the assistance of Garfield County Search and Rescue members, along with two transport vans, to bring the remaining passengers and driver down off the mountain as soon as possible.
The pictures show the stranded Greyhound bus. By trying to navigate the roadway, the Greyhound bus managed to tear a hole through the bottom of its engine’s oil pan, creating an oil spill along this high mountain road. Ecos was called in immediately for a hazardous materials spill clean up to avoid further spread of the oil contaminant.
The Emergency Operations vehicle from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is shown fully loaded with luggage from the bus. Shortly before 11:00 pm, the passengers and driver were loaded into the vehicles and the ride back down the road and into Eagle County began. A threatening rainstorm could have interrupted the rescue procedures and delayed the mission; fortunately the storm passed further north. The caravan reached I-70 shortly after midnight.
Catastrophe was avoided this time. Travelers are advised not to follow GPS mapping in an attempt to circumvent the I-70 closure through Glenwood Canyon. Backcountry roads are unpredictable and can be treacherous or deadly for the unprepared traveler.
The preferred and recommended route around Glenwood Canyon when traveling west remains exiting I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne) and traveling north on Colorado Highway 9 towards Kremmling. Travelers will then continue west on US Highway 40 and south on CO 13 to complete the alternate route and returning to I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90). When traveling east simply reverse this path. The detour can add between 1 ½ hours to 2 hours to your trip, depending on traffic, but you will be on well-traveled and paved roads with multiple towns and rest areas along the way.
For the best and most up to date information regarding Colorado roadways, go to cotrip.org.