Woman walks away from crash | AspenTimes.com
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Woman walks away from crash

Janet Urquhart
An Aspen driver's pickup truck came to a rest near Castle Creek after rolling down the steep embankment Tuesday night. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)
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A local woman who walked away from her pickup truck after a 100-foot plunge off Castle Creek Road Tuesday night was discovered Wednesday morning in a building where she sought refuge.Helen Roche, 43, of Aspen, apparently was driving up the road at some time between 10 p.m. and midnight when her truck skidded on icy pavement and veered down the steep embankment toward the creek, according to the Colorado State Patrol.She reportedly climbed out of the truck and, unable to get back through the deep snow and brush to the road, made her way to the Aspen Music Festival and School campus, seeking a place where she could call for help. She apparently broke a window to get into a building.Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Brady Jax had been called out on Wednesday morning to investigate a reported break-in at the campus when a motorist on Castle Creek Road spied the skid marks near the crash site, spotted the truck and notified authorities.Jax was diverted to the accident scene, and summoned rescuers with extrication equipment after realizing the truck appeared to have rolled several times and was at least 100 feet down into the creek gorge, he said.”My feeling was, there was somebody in the car – they’re knocked-out unconscious or dead,” Jax said. But he called off the rescue personnel when he got down to the truck and found it empty.Jax said he began searching around the truck and ultimately followed footprints in the snow from the accident site. The prints reportedly headed downstream about a quarter of a mile to the music school campus, where he encountered the school representative who had called to report the suspected burglary. That’s when they heard a woman screaming and found her inside a campus building.

The driver of the truck told Jax she was alone in the vehicle when she crashed at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. She did not know how long she was in the truck before she began wandering around in search of a telephone or help. She eventually arrived at the school and broke into the building, which was heated, Jax said.Roche displayed no visible signs of injury, Jax said, but she was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital and reportedly released Wednesday.She was not ticketed.Reporter John Colson contributed to this report. Janet Urquhart’s e-mail is janet@aspentimes.com


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