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Arizona man killed in UTV accident

An Arizona man died Tuesday afternoon after being ejected from a UTV (utility task vehicle) in southern Hinsdale County.

Thought the incident occurred in Hinsdale County, mutual aid agreements meant that many Archuleta County entities responded.

According to Archuleta County Director of Emergency Operations Thad McKain, the man — identified by Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht as Michael Armstrong, 33, of Scottsdale — was the sole occupant in the four-passenger UTV at the time of the incident.

McKain and Macht reported that the man was driving the UTV on Forest Service Road 631 near private land formerly known as the Poma Ranch, when the UTV went off the road for unknown reasons and rolled at least once down a 45-degree embankment.

Armstrong was ejected from the UTV and pronounced dead at the scene, Macht reported.

Macht indicated that Armstrong was not wearing a helmet or other protective gear, and there did not appear to be a seat belt in use.

The Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (including the Division of Emergency Management), Upper San Juan Search and Rescue, EMS, Pagosa Fire Protection District, Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office and an incident management group all responded to the incident, which originated on Forest Service land.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

Correction, clarification

The SUN would like to offer the following correction and clarifications regarding last week’s front-page article, “Three airlifted following ATV accidents.”

Last week, it was reported that a local man, James Vincent, reported to The SUN to be 38 years old by the Archuleta County Division of Emergency Management, was riding with an unidentified 13-year-old male on July 23 at the time of the accident.

In reality, Vincent’s accident took place on July 26, on Sand Creek Trail. He was riding by himself at the time of the accident.

The July 23 accident involved an unidentified 45-year-old man from Denver and the unidentified juvenile, who were riding on the Snow Creek ATV trail. The pair failed to negotiate a curve and went off a steep drop off.

Following The SUN’s initial report in the July 31 issue, The SUN received the following information from the attending medic, Becky Sproul, via Pagosa Springs Medical Center’s Haz Said, who works in marketing and communications.

As the initial report indicated, the unidentified pair were taken from the scene of the accident on UTVs due to the steep and densely forested terrain.

From the beginning, according to Sproul, they were under the care of a Pagosa Springs critical care paramedic ambulance team from first contact until they were transported via ambulance to the Pagosa Springs Medical Center, where personnel at the Level IV trauma center were waiting and worked to stabilize the patients.

After the patients were stabilized, they were transported via medical plan to a Level I trauma center in Denver for additional and ongoing treatment.

“As a member of that on-site medical team, I would like to compliment the search and rescue team, the emergency manager, the members of Pagosa Fire, and the highly skilled members of our surgical and emergency team for the excellent, coordinated care we brought to these patients here in our community,” Sproul wrote in the statement sent to SUN staff.

The SUN regrets the errors made. For more on the critical care paramedic team, see related story in this issue of The SUN.

This story was posted on August 7, 2014.