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No cell service delays rescue, passersby find rollover crash site

AGUILAR — Many people who live or travel in remote areas of Colorado’s back country depend on cell phones, especially in case of emergencies, but when there is no cell signal available an emergency can quickly turn to tragedy. Luckily, that was not the case this past Sunday afternoon when passersby on Las Animas County Road 52.4 in Mauricio Canyon came upon a single vehicle roll over crash. The good Samaritans had to drive some distance from the site of the wreck to text Aguilar Marshal Tracy Bonham as the cell phone signal was too weak to connect to 911. Bonham received the first text message about the accident at 2:29 pm Sunday, March 1. Bonham was first to reach the accident scene followed shortly by Spanish Peaks/Bon Carbo Fire Protection District and Trinidad Ambulance personnel. When first responders arrived at the scene they were able to get Patricia Houpt of Walsenburg out of the vehicle after she had spent about one hour trapped in her Ford Ranger pick-up. Initially a call went out for extrication equipment to be brought to the scene but that was cancelled and rescue personnel were able to remove her from the vehicle through the windshield. The small pick-up had slid off the county road

and down an embankment and ended up on its passenger side. Houpt was transported to Spanish Peaks Regional Medical Center in Walsenburg for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. While the driver’s injuries were not reported as serious, emergency medical technicians were concerned about the potential of exposure or hypothermia since she had spent so much time in her vehicle before being found. Bonham said it was cold and snowing at the location at the time of the accident and rescue.

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