Police identify man who died in fall | AspenTimes.com

Police identify man who died in fall

Steve Lynn
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

RED CLIFF, Colo. -” The name of the man who fell off a cliff and died after a car crash has been released.

Justin Parker, 25, of Ames, Iowa, was driving toward Red Cliff, near Vail, on U.S. Highway 24 when he lost control and skidded 300 feet down an embankment, authorities said. Parker crashed into some trees and another embankment between Tigiwon Road and the abandoned mining town of Gilman at mile marker 150.4.

Parker survived the accident and may have walked about 100 yards to the edge of a 100-foot cliff, where he may have accidentally fallen to his death, said Sgt. Greg Daly of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

The Eagle County Coroner’s Office did not know the cause of Parker’s death because it has not yet received information from a pathologist who did the autopsy, said Deputy Coroner Mike Kerst.

Parker may have been disoriented and unfamiliar with the landscape, leading to the fall, according to Daly, who said Parker may have been there for as long as 24 hours.

Authorities found Parker’s Ford Focus upright and footprints leading away from it Sept. 30, and suspected that he had survived and had failed to report the accident, Daly said.

However, Parker was spotted at the bottom of the cliff by a Colorado Air National Guard helicopter crew on a training exercise at dusk, and rescuers took him out of the area, Daly said.

Parker had a Google map in the car showing Red Cliff as his destination, Daly said. Sheriff’s deputies searched Red Cliff for people Parker may have been visiting but did not find anyone, he said.

A memorial service was held Saturday for Parker, a former student at Iowa State University and a real estate agent, Kerst said.