Hunter found dead after ATV crash in Fryingpan Valley
A hunter was found dead near Thomasville on Monday after his all-terrain vehicle apparently toppled down an embankment the day before and crashed by the Fryingpan River, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.The victim was 56-year-old Glen Helmick of Arvada, sheriff’s deputy Marie Munday said.It was uncertain from evidence at the scene if the man died from injuries he suffered in the crash or from an unknown medical issue, Munday said. “There was no evidence of foul play.”An autopsy will be performed this week to determine the cause of death.Helmick was part of a hunting party that was staying at the Yolanda Placer cabins near Thomasville. The group included his two adult sons.Helmick was last seen at midafternoon Sunday, Munday said. His colleagues were uncertain whether he left the cabins to go elk hunting or if he was traveling to the general store in Meredith to use a pay telephone. No cellular service is available in that part of the Fryingpan Valley.A person from the hunting party traveled to Basalt about 1:30 a.m. Monday to report the man missing, Munday said. A Thomasville resident who is a volunteer firefighter with the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District was out for a stroll when he spotted the ATV and body around 7 a.m. Monday, Munday said. The crash site was just downvalley from the Thomasville fire station.It was extremely difficult to spot the site from the road, especially from a vehicle, she said. The pedestrian first spotted the yellow parts of the man’s 2005 Honda Rubicon down the steep embankment. If the machine were a less vibrant color, it might not have been spotted, Munday said. Helmick was traveling downvalley, or toward Ruedi Reservoir, when the accident occurred. He went off the right side of the road.The terrain sloped down about 20 feet from the road, then falls steeply for about 25 feet to the Fryingpan River, Munday said.Ambulance crews from Basalt and Thomasville responded to the scene and helped retrieve the body. Pitkin County deputies and Coroner Steve Ayers investigated the scene.Munday said there were no skid marks on the road. Also, there wasn’t a lot of disturbance, such as broken branches and displaced rock and soil on the embankment.”It appears he wasn’t going very fast,” Munday said.Members of the hunting party reported the man wasn’t drinking Sunday, and no evidence of alcohol was apparent at the scene, Munday said. Helmick was reportedly in good health. Munday said she was told he had been visiting the Fryingpan Valley to hunt for more than 30 years.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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