Carbondale woman dies in bike accident
June 30, 2011
CARBONDALE – Carbondale resident Linda Sellers apparently drowned over the weekend after a bicycling accident threw her into Cattle Creek. She was 60.
Her body was found Saturday evening, although she is believed to have embarked on the bike ride the day before. Garco Deputy Coroner Thomas Walton confirmed on Wednesday that Sellers apparently died due to accidental circumstances.
“There is no foul play,” Walton said. “It is going to be (ruled) an accident.”
A fisherman said he found Sellers’ body face-down in Cattle Creek on Saturday evening near the intersection of County Road 100 and Cattle Creek Road, which makes a 90-degree turn at the intersection.
Derek McFarlin, 26, of Glenwood Springs, told the Post Independent he was fishing in Cattle Creek at around 5:30 p.m. when he spotted something that looked out of place near the downstream end of a large culvert that carries the creek under the intersection. Upon checking, he said, he discovered Sellers’ body, her feet still clipped into the pedals of her road bike.
McFarlin immediately rushed to the nearby home of his friend and employer, Steve Atchison, to use his phone to call the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. He said two deputies arrived at the scene within about 15 minutes of getting the call.
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Sellers’ family was notified on Sunday, after a delay caused by difficulty in identifying the victim, according to her son, Ben Sellers.
A friend of the family, Robin Hubbard of Carbondale, said Sellers had driven part of the way up Catherine Store Road and parked near the intersection with County Road 102. Sellers then rode up Catherine Store Road from there before making the steep descent on the paved road to the intersection with Cattle Creek Road.
Atchison, a building contractor, said he examined the scene of the accident shortly after McFarlin found her, and saw skid marks and other telltale signs of the crash. He believes Sellers was riding down the road heading north, toward the intersection at the bottom of a long and relatively steep hill. Atchison theorized that Sellers lost control of her bike, veering off into the steeply banked creek on the upstream side of the culvert.
When she was found by McFarlin at the downstream end of the culvert, she apparently had been washed through the culvert by the high water in the creek, Atchison said.
Although official autopsy results have not been released, Hubbard said the autopsy revealed Sellers died from drowning. The accident remains under investigation, and the sheriff’s office declined to release further details pending receipt of a formal autopsy report from the coroner’s office. Deputy Coroner Walton said the report should be released today or Friday.
Sheriff’s investigators reached the same conclusion as the coroner in calling the death an accident, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis.
“They didn’t see anything at the time that indicated foul play,” McGinnis said.
Hubbard, of Carbondale, said Sellers had been expected to meet up with a friend on June 24, but had not done so. She called Sellers, an “extremely athletic, extremely driven, passionate person” who “pushed herself hard in everything she did,” whether it was equestrian activities, road cycling or raising her sons. Sellers was a nurse who worked at various times for clinics in the Basalt and Carbondale area and for Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. She also worked for a few years in real estate. Sellers lived with one of her three adult sons, Hubbard said.
“She was so passionate about her boys,” Hubbard recalled, “sort of a force-of-nature type of mom.”
Over the weekend, her sons were not alarmed at not seeing their mom, thinking their schedules were causing them to miss seeing each other at home, Hubbard related.