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Community mourns a young life

Glenwood Springs residents are mourning the loss of a 10-year-old girl and praying for her mother’s recovery after the two were struck by a car while riding their bicycles in Delta over the weekend.

Samantha Carlson, a fourth-grader at Sopris Elementary School, died Sunday morning after a car driven by Richard Hilton, 47, of Pagosa Springs swerved off the road and onto the shoulder, where Samantha was riding with her mom, Lorry. The Carlsons were biking on Highway 50 within Delta city limits.

Samantha was pronounced dead at Delta County Memorial Hospital.



Lorry Carlson was flown to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. She was in serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit there Tuesday.

Hilton was arrested and booked into the Delta County Jail on charges of vehicular homicide and careless driving. He was released on $25,000 bond.



Howard Jay, principal at Sopris Elementary, remembered Samantha as “just a tremendous little girl, interested in learning. She always had a smile on her face.”

Samantha’s father is Rex Carlson. The Carlson family lives in Glenwood Park.

“The whole neighborhood over there in Glenwood Park was kind of touched by this,” Jay said. “It’s a pretty significant loss for all of us.”

He said the Carlsons have a son who is in second grade at Sopris Elementary.

Jay said he understands that Lorry is an avid cyclist. Hilton reportedly fell asleep at the wheel as Lorry was riding with her daughter, and the vehicle hit Samantha and then her mother. Samantha reportedly died on the scene.

Police were called to the scene at around 9:30 a.m. Sunday.

Jay said Lorry reportedly broke her neck, legs and some ribs.

He said Samantha’s death was one of the biggest tragedies involving a student that the school has seen.

“It’s just a tragic loss any time that happens. Right now our prayers are with the mom,” he said.

Although school is not yet in session, counselors will be available when classes begin to support students affected by Samantha’s death, Jay said.

Funeral services for Samantha Carlson are still pending.


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