Musician dies in river |

Musician dies in river

Colorado State Patrol troopers and officials with the Basalt Fire Department discuss the circumstances of a fatal accident Friday on Frying Pan Road. The car was submerged with only the wheels showing until it was pulled over the bank by a winch on rescue equipment. (Scott Condon/The Aspen Times)

A woman was killed Friday afternoon when her car ran off Frying Pan Road, flipped into the river and trapped her inside.Her name wasn’t released Friday night by the Colorado State Patrol, which handled the investigation, but other authorities said the victim was Tracy McLain, a longtime musician and guitar instructor in the midvalley. Basalt school administrators were notified of the death because McLain taught so many kids there.

The accident occurred shortly after 1 p.m. nearly four miles east of Basalt. McLain was traveling downvalley on a straight section of road when she veered off the left side. Investigators at the scene were noting there were no skids marks, leading to speculation she may have fallen asleep or experienced some other difficulty.The car appeared to clear an embankment and land in the river. Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson said only the car’s tires were visible above water. Three members of a rescue team, wearing wetsuits, entered the water, pried open the driver’s door and eventually were able to remove the body from the wreckage. The woman was wearing a seat belt. No one else was in the vehicle.

“She was completely submerged in water,” Thompson said. An amplifier and other musical equipment were found in the car.McLain was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital, but paramedics were unable to revive her. Information wasn’t immediately available on whether the cause of death was trauma from the collision or drowning.

Fire trucks and ambulances had to be moved to the side of the road to accommodate a couple trying to get to the hospital for the birth of their baby. A Hispanic couple came across the scene and experienced a problem with a language barrier. Basalt Police Officer Antolina Gonzales, a Spanish speaker, came to their assistance and learned that the woman’s water had broken. Gonzales got equipment moved so the couple could be on their way, according to Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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