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Monument death ruled suicide

Paul Shockley
Grand Junction correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. ” A woman took her life by driving off a cliff in Colorado National Monument Tuesday night, according to the Mesa County Coroner’s Office.

Brenda Griggs, 57, of Grand Junction, died of multiple injuries in what has been ruled a suicide, Deputy Coroner Dr. Robert Kurtzman said.

Griggs was behind the wheel of a Subaru that plunged off Rim Rock Drive and several hundred feed down into Red Canyon shortly after 5 p.m. The car went off the road about a half-mile west of Cold Shivers Point.

Mesa County Search and Rescue volunteers lifted Griggs’ body out of the canyon at about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday. A recovery effort Tuesday night was suspended because of darkness.

Joan Anzelmo, Colorado National Monument superintendent, said staff was still determining how to extract the wrecked Subaru.

They want it out before winter.

“It’s possible we’ll have it cut into several pieces and fly it out unless we can figure out a way a crane can be used there,” she said.

The wreckage rests at the base of Red Canyon ” rugged terrain at the bottom of a 300- to 250-foot drop from Rim Rock Drive, Anzelmo said.

She said they’ll look to the Subaru’s insurance policy to possibly pay for some of the effort. Anzelmo also said the U.S. Department of Interior offers assistance to parks for search and rescue missions.

“We’ll be applying for that in this incident,” Anzelmo said.

Colorado National Monument, stretching from the outskirts of Grand Junction to near Fruita, boasts scenic canyons and rock spires. Rim Rock Drive twists its way up to the top of the canyons and across a mesa from both the Grand Junction and Fruita sides.


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