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Man found dead following crash

Staff Writer

An Archuleta County man who was found dead late Saturday morning in Aspen Springs is thought to have died as a result of hypothermia.

The man, Lonnie Lee Baughman, 57, is believed to have been involved in a minor vehicle crash sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning, according to Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht.

After Baughman crashed his vehicle into a tree, Macht said he believes the man tried to walk home, walked in circles for a while, and fell in the snow.

Temperatures in the area are thought to have been 5 degrees or lower that night.

The call reporting Baughman’s death indicated a possible assault, leading law enforcement to initially treat the situation as a homicide, but that was quickly changed upon arrival of law enforcement officers at the scene, Det. Tonya Hamilton of the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office said.

“All of that was dispelled quickly when we got there,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said Baughman was found with a cut on his nose and a small amount of blood on his face, but Colorado State Patrol Trooper Randy Talbot said the injury likely happened when Baughman fell in the snow.

When it was determined that no assault took place, the case shifted to the Colorado State Patrol for investigation.

“It actually turned into a pretty simple case,” Hamilton said. “It was pretty obvious it was hypothermia and a traffic accident.”

Talbot said an investigation revealed that Baughman likely was not injured in the crash, which Talbot believes occurred at a low speed, based upon damage to the vehicle.

Talbot said Baughman’s body was found about 250 feet down a hillside from the vehicle, and added that the vehicle could not be seen from the location of the body.

The case remains officially under investigation pending the results of an autopsy that was scheduled for Wednesday, Talbot said.

Results of the autopsy were not available by press time Wednesday.

Prior to the autopsy, Macht said his working hypothesis for the cause of death was hypothermia, but he noted that the autopsy would test for things such as internal injuries or other factors, such as alcohol use, that may have contributed to Baughman’s demise.

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on December 12, 2013.
  • Haha

    What a terrible outcome to serve as a reminder of how fragile life is and how gnarly nature can be. That’s before the potential of alcohol and/or drugs, as well. If you are heading out of town, by even a few miles, ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE 24 HRS OF SURVIVAL GEAR AT YOUR DISPOSAL IN YOUR VEHICLE. RIP :(

    • NOT Haha

      I don’t know who you are or why you responded in this manner but it’s disrespectful…yes LIFE IS FRAGILE…however this isn’t a time for survival gear or being a prepper of some sort…a man died and you’re pushing an agenda???

      • reality

        I think you were taken aback by the guys screen name rather that his supposed agenda. Despite the tragedy a reminder of life saving preparations are not agendas but good sense. I hope all can send condolences and whatever one feels appropriate to the family then load your trunk with some safety gear to weather a bad winter situation.

        • Haha

          Only in a modern Obama-gives-you-everything world are a space blanket and a below-zero sleeping bag for ‘preppers with agendas.’ Thank you for understanding my point, I hope you’re one of my neighbors.

          • reality

            I hope you are not one of my neighbors if you choose such a screen name. Not to many haha things going on locally of late

          • Haha

            No worries, the name is more of a response to the idea of putting my name in there. Reality is somewhere in between I guess.

      • Haha

        Agenda? *Taps on your cognitive function* You’re on your own. Be prepared.