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Man waits six hours for help

An Aspen Springs resident waited in his truck for six hours before receiving help after rolling down an embankment late Wednesday night, Jan. 5.

Robert Ewing, 52, of Pagosa Springs, was driving northbound on County Road 700 (Cat Creek Road) west of Pagosa Springs shortly after 11 p.m., Jan. 5, when he lost control of his vehicle on the icy road, said Trooper Doug Wiersma of the Colorado State Patrol.

The incident took place 2.8 miles down CR 700.

Ewing’s vehicle, a 1982 Dodge pickup, then slid 30-40 feet down an embankment, where he landed in a creek bed, according to Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Ron Thompson.

Wiersma reported that Ewing’s truck rolled one time on its way down the embankment.

The truck was still running following the roll, allowing Ewing to use the heater to stay warm as he waited for help, Thompson said.

Hours later, shortly before 5:30 a.m., a passerby saw Ewing’s tracks leaving the road, located Ewing, and the incident was called in to Archuleta County Combined Dispatch.

The call was received by dispatch at 5:28 a.m.; emergency personnel reached the scene at 5:50 a.m.

Emergency personnel, including fire, EMS and two Archuleta County Sheriff’s deputies, used a winch system to bring Ewing and the rescuers up the embankment, Thompson said.

“It was a pretty smooth operation,” Thompson said. “Once they decided what they were going to do, it didn’t take long to get it done.”

Ewing was then transported to Pagosa Mountain Hospital around 6:30 a.m. with minor injuries.

Thompson said Ewing’s chief complaint at the scene was difficulty breathing.

Wiersma said Ewing was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the incident. He was charged with careless driving.

randi@pagosasun.com