Man severely injured by boulder identified
A friend of the Pixler family started a fundraiser. For more information visit:
One of the people injured Monday night when boulders tumbled onto State Highway 82 near Carbondale was David Pixler, 49, of Grand Junction.
He was seriously injured and flown to Denver Health, his sister told the Post Independent on Tuesday.
He was driving a van for Pinyon Mesa Automatics that struck one of three rocks that fell onto the road shortly before 5 p.m.
His sister Stacy Pixler Pinnt said he was unable to stop and hit the boulder head on, sending the van into a spin and causing it to collide with another vehicle. It took 25 minutes for rescue workers to free Pixler from the vehicle.
He sustained numerous broken ribs; a broken femur; broken hip; bruised kidneys, liver and spleen; and a small tear to his aorta, Pinnt said. He was scheduled for surgery Tuesday afternoon.
Pixler is married and has two daughters and three grandchildren. His wife, Molly, is with him in Denver, Pinnt said. Other family members are trying to get to Denver to join them.
“His family is very grateful for how the emergency responders took care of him,” Pinnt said. She also wanted to thank Ben Birkenfeld, who was in the car behind Pixler and spoke with him before emergency crews arrived.
“He’s such a good guy,” she said of her brother. “He drops everything to help everybody. We’re all kind of helpless because we can’t help him right now.”
Pinnt said that Pixler sometimes drives as much as 1,500 miles in a week.
“He’s really been lucky so far, and from the looks of the van, he’s very lucky this time,” she said. “He’s my only brother, so he’s got to be OK.”
According to Carbondale Deputy Fire Chief Rob Goodwin, two vehicles were hit by boulders around 6 feet in diameter in the right-hand downvalley lane near mile marker 10, just west of the intersection with Highway 133.
A red sedan was struck on the passenger side, inflicting minor injuries on the driver.
The largest of the boulders, estimated between 8 and 10 feet in diameter, bounced across downvalley lanes and landed in the upvalley lanes near the Carbondale overlook.
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