Rock fall stark reminder of tragedy for Aspen man |

Rock fall stark reminder of tragedy for Aspen man

John Colson
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Published: Jim Paussa/

ASPEN – An Aspen man who lost his family to a rock slide in Glenwood Canyon 15 years ago happened to be driving through the canyon Sunday night shortly before another huge rock fall slammed into both decks of Interstate 70 near the Hanging Lake interchange.

Art Daily, whose wife and two sons died when a rock bounded down the canyon wall and crashed into their car on Feb. 26, 1995, was coming home from a hockey tournament in Colorado Springs, where his youngest son, Burke, 12, was competing.

“I came through there about 10:30 [p.m.] with my younger son and one of his friends,” said Daily on Monday, admitting to having been a little shaken when he heard about the rock fall, which happened around midnight.

“I just thought, thank God that there was nobody in that part of the canyon when the rocks fell,” he continued. “That could have been a very tragic event.”

Last year, Daily and his second wife, Allison, published a moving account of how their connecting with each other in the wake of the tragedy, getting married and raising two sons, helped him to survive the shattering effects of the accident.

“Driving through that canyon always brings up memories, strong memories, of the family that I lost,” he said.

Also recurring, but less than they once did, are his recollections of the accident itself, which remain “vividly” imprinted in his mind.

But, he said, “those kinds of memories kind of fade with time.”

Daily takes a philosophical view of his family’s use of I-70, which in the winter is the main connection between the Roaring Fork Valley and the outside world.

“It’s obviously a potentially dangerous highway at times,” he noted. “The other side of that is it’s a spectacular highway … one of the most beautiful highways of our time.”

Because using the interstate is all but unavoidable, he said, “We do drive that canyon regularly.”

In fact, Allison and the couple’s eldest son, Rider, 13, were driving back to Aspen from Steamboat Springs on Saturday evening, roughly 24 hours before the rock fall, returning from another hockey event in Steamboat Springs.

Pointing out that he has two sons who “love to play hockey, and a lot of the playing goes on along the Front Range,” Daily said he is not about to give up driving that stretch of roadway, but conceded that “it goes through your head sometimes.”

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