Police say Ruedi death was accidental drowning | AspenTimes.com

Police say Ruedi death was accidental drowning

Naomi Havlen

Carbondale resident Dan Smith accidentally drowned in Ruedi Reservoir last weekend, the Pitkin County Coroner’s Office reported Thursday.According to Pitkin County deputy coroner Jennifer Diamond, Smith might have been having trouble with his houseboat when the accident occurred. He was probably in the water, trying to move or dock his boat when he drowned, she said.”Nobody witnessed it, but there’s no evidence to show foul play or trauma like he slipped and fell into the water,” Diamond said. Boaters at the reservoir told police there were monsoon winds at the reservoir on Saturday.Smith, 54, was found by boaters on Sunday; one of his arms was wrapped in a rope that he had been using to move the boat – the other end was tied to the front end of the boat.Smith was well-known in the local plumbing community, a longtime friend said on Thursday.Karen Stissel Brooks, a Ridgway resident who met Smith in his hometown of Oklahoma City, attended Putnam City High School with Smith.”Dan was always the life of the party and had a huge circle of friends,” Brooks said. Smith started Britton Plumbing in Oklahoma City. He eventually sold that business and left Oklahoma with his then-girlfriend Heather.Heather and Dan later married and had two daughters, Morgan and Melissa. Brooks said Smith was a good father, despite working long hours as the owner of American Plumbing and Heating.Recently divorced, Brooks said Smith bought the houseboat to share with his daughters.”The last time I saw Dan was a few weeks ago in Carbondale … he told us all about the houseboat and how he had bought it with the intention of fixing it up with the girls and spending quiet time with them on the reservoir,” Brooks said. “He loved the water and the peacefulness he felt there.”Brooks remembers many people stopping to talk or honk at Smith on the streets of Aspen. She said Smith took his Yorkshire terrier, Oscar, with him everywhere in his American Plumbing truck.Boaters found Smith and his boat near the west end of the reservoir because of Oscar’s continual barking from the boat’s deck.”I am so sad that my Danno is gone, and we will never enjoy being with him again,” Brooks said. She said Smith’s friends in Oklahoma City are devastated by the news of his death.A service for Dan Wayne Smith will be held at Farnum-Holt Funeral Home at 405 W. Seventh St. in Glenwood Springs today at 6 p.m.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com