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Details of fatal crash emerge

SNOWMASS VILLAGE A man who died in a one-car wreck in Snowmass Village last weekend apparently was alive for a short time before succumbing to cold Brush Creek authorities said Tuesday.The man’s body then sat undetected in his car, upside down in the Brush Creek ravine for approximately 36 hours, before being spotted, police said.Rolando Ocaña Figueroa, 31, of Basalt, a cook at the Big Hoss Grill in Snowmass Village, apparently died after his car went flying off Brush Creek Road and into the creek near the Snowmass Center in the early hours of the morning on May 20, police reported Tuesday.Sgt. Brian Olson of the Snowmass police said an autopsy showed that Ocaña Figueroa died of hypothermia, and there were no injuries related to the crash, “so he was conscious after the crash.” He said the coroner’s report is vague about the amount of time involved, but estimated Ocaña Figueroa might have been conscious for up to five or 10 minutes. Olson said he was not wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred.Olson said police have learned that Ocaña Figueroa was last seen alive at the grill at around bar time that night, from approximately 1:30 to 2 a.m.His car, a black Nissan Altima, was found in Brush Creek, with its roof and part of the passenger compartment submerged, about noon Monday.Olson said a town of Snowmass Village employee sitting on the passenger side of at town garbage truck spotted the wreck, and it probably was only visible because of the higher vantage point of the cab. Olson said the bike path that parallels the creek along that stretch is closed for construction at Base Village, noting that passing cyclists might otherwise have spotted the capsized car much sooner.Olson said that Ocoña Figueroa did not seem to have visible injuries when he was found.According to Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy Marie Munday, who acts as a liaison to the Hispanic community and knows the Ocaña Figueroa family, preliminary autopsy results indicated alcohol in his system, although the tests did not show how much was present. Final toxicology results will not be available for at least another week, Olson said.According to family members, Ocaña Figueroa has lived in the United States for about nine years and has worked as a cook at several area restaurants. He was living in the Lazy Glen trailer park with his cousin, Mario Morales, at the time of the accident.Ocaña Figueroa’s wife and three children – two daughters and a son, ages 2, 10 and 12 respectively – live in the family’s home town of Agua Dulce Vero, Veracruz, Mexico. It was the sister of a family friend who notified Ocaña Figueroa’s wife, Estela Ramirez, of his death, and according to the family, Ocaña Figueroa was planning to return to Mexico in July to see his family.Ocaña Figueroa is believed to have been alone at the time of the crash, although Olson said police are still checking the area for any indications that others were in the car with him.A funeral service for Ocaña Figueroa is scheduled Wednesday; see Obituaries for details.John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com


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