Car careens 700 feet off Highway 6 into the Eagle River in EagleVail |

Car careens 700 feet off Highway 6 into the Eagle River in EagleVail

EagleVail incident one of several first responders handled Saturday

Justin Pires was injured when he drove his car 700 feet off of Highway 6 in EagleVail, and another 100 feet down an embankment and into the Eagle River. He was rescued by fire fighters and transported to the Vail hospital.
Ross Leonhart |

A car that landed in the Eagle River in EagleVail Saturday night will stay right where it is until Sunday morning, a Colorado State Patrol spokesman said.

Justin Pires, 33, of Avon, was the only occupant of a black Lexus that went off the road at Highway 6 and Stone Creek Road.

The car traveled 700 feet off the highway toward the Eagle River. Pires crashed through a wooden fence between the highway and the EagleVail golf course. The Lexus then continued across the golf course and 100 feet down an embankment until it landed in the river, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

First responders were on the scene in moments. Responding agencies included the Colorado State Patrol, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and the Eagle River Fire Protection District, which sent four crews to the scene, including its river rescue team.

The Lexus was about halfway across the river when firefighters reached Pires.

Firefighters initially thought they would have to use their raft to retrieve Pires from the river. However, the river was low enough that the raft was not necessary, said Tracy Leclair, the public information officer for the Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Firefighters donned dry suits and waded through the river to the injured Pires. They strapped him into a basket and pulled him to safety.

Pires was transported to Vail Health Hospital. There were no reports about the extent of his injuries, said Trooper Ivan Alvarado, public information officer with the Colorado State Patrol.

Because it was dark and the car is in the river hundreds of feet from Highway 6, it’s safer to leave it in the river overnight, and pull it out Saturday morning, Alvarado said.

Alvarado said it was unknown which way the vehicle was headed, or what caused the accident. The incident remains under investigation.

Gas leak in Vail

Saturday was busy for first responders all over the area.

Vail’s fire and police departments responded to a gas leak in the Forest Road neighborhood. The gas leak was clamped off quickly and without incident. No one had to be evacuated, according to the Vail Fire Department.

The Eagle River Fire Protection District and Vail Mountain Rescue pulled an injured man off of Red and White Mountain Road after an ATV rollover accident. The man hit a large bump that sent his head banging into the vehicle’s rollbar. He was flown to Denver for further treatment.

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