GYPSUM — A local high school coach and teacher is one of three people killed in a single-vehicle rollover crash in Southwest Colorado.
Garrett LaForce was killed when the vehicle in which he was riding went off the road and rolled several times down a steep embankment. LaForce taught technology and industrial arts at Eagle Valley High School, and he was the girls volleyball coach.
Another Eagle Valley teacher, Weston Gleiss, survived the crash. He teaches math. He was the only survivor among the four passengers and was treated for minor injuries at the Telluride hospital, said the Colorado State Patrol.
The vehicle was headed south on Colorado Highway 145 near Ophir, about six miles south of Telluride. The crash happened around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
The 2011 Chevy Cruz in which they were riding went off the right side of the road and struck a road sign. After striking the road sign, it rolled several times down a steep embankment. The road there is on the edge of an extremely steep, high cliff, according to topographical maps.
The vehicle rolled across D65 Road and came to rest about 15 feet off that road, said the Colorado State Patrol.
The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office says three of the four people in the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene.
OTHER PASSENGERS KILLED
Also killed were Edward Bollman, 23, of Colorado Springs, and Carly Sansone, 21, of Smith Creek, Michigan.
All four were wearing seatbelts.
The Colorado State Patrol is investigating the crash.
“Our hearts break for the families involved and everyone affected by this loss,” said Jason Glass, superintendent of Eagle County Schools.
LaForce had successfully completed his first year as a teacher and coach, said Tami Payne, Eagle Valley’s assistant principal and athletic and activities director.
“Garrett was such a tremendous friend, colleague, teacher and coach. We will work to support each other in dealing with his loss and the impact it will have on our community,” said a statement from Payne.
LaForce earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education: Industrial technology in 2012 from Northern Michigan University.
He’s a native of Libertyville, Illinois, and lived in Eagle.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.