2 dead, driver due in court after single-vehicle rollover crash near Rifle
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Two people are dead after a fatal rollover wreck in the early morning of Dec. 29 on Puma Paw Ranch Road north of Rifle, and the driver of the vehicle is in custody on charges including drunken driving and vehicular homicide.
Trent Johnson, 41, was killed in the wreck just after midnight on the 29th along with Matthew Smith, 36, of Rifle.
Johnson’s 10-year-old son, Rylan Johnson, was also seriously injured in the crash and flown to Denver for treatment. He was expected to be released Tuesday or Wednesday, according to those close to the family.
The driver of the vehicle, Cody Christopher, 40, was taken to Grand River Hospital in Rifle with minor injuries. Johnson and Smith were pronounced dead at the scene, Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire said.
Christopher, is in custody at the Garfield County Jail on charges of vehicular homicide and assault, DUI and other charges stemming from the crash. He was due in court for an advisement hearing Tuesday afternoon.
The Johnsons, along with the two family friends, were headed out on a hunting trip when the crash occurred on the private ranch road located off of Garfield County Road 219, northwest of Rifle Gap Reservoir. Johnson and the other passenger and were ejected from the vehicle.
None of the occupants in the SUV were wearing seat belts, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Traveling in a 2003 Ford SUV, the vehicle went over an embankment while traveling north on the ranch road and rolled nearly two full turns, ejecting both Johnson and Smith.
Johnson is the father of standout Glenwood Springs High School volleyball player Baylee Johnson. Glenwood Springs head volleyball coach Kehau Rust has created a Go Fund Me page to help support the Johnsons. The goal of the page is to raise $7,000. By Tuesday morning, more than $3,100 had poured in via donations since the page was created Monday evening.
To help support the Johnson family, visit the Go Fund Me page, or contact Rust at firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can also be made to the Go Fund Me account through the Glenwood Springs High School volleyball team’s official Facebook page.
Updates on this story will be provided as more information becomes available.
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