Fatal crash off edge of cliffs near Silverthorne ruled a suicide
A crash on Thursday that took the life of a 21-year-old woman whose car fell from the cliffs on Ptarmigan Trail Road onto Interstate 70 has been ruled a suicide, Summit County coroner Regan Wood said. It was the ninth death by suicide in the county this year.
The cause of the crash was not clear at the scene, but the woman was pronounced deceased immediately. Colorado State Patrol investigated the crash and found no evidence of foul play, and the coroner deemed the death intentional. The report on the death was not yet available.
A similar tragedy occurred in 2005 on Ptarmigan Trail, a dirt road that parallels the highway east of Silverthorne and climbs to steep, rocky drop-offs over I-70. In that case, a woman’s Honda Civic fell 144 feet off of the cliffs, and the coroner ruled the death a suicide.
Suicide is a complex cause of death, but according to prevention groups, mental disorders and substance abuse issues have been found in 90 percent of people who die from it. These conditions are treatable, and increased use of drugs and alcohol can be a potential warning sign that someone is approaching a crisis. Addressing a substance abuse problem can be an effective way of helping prevent suicide.
Other possible risk indicators include abrupt changes in sleeping patterns, extreme mood swings, increased risk-taking and withdrawal from one’s social life. If you suspect that someone may be considering suicide, experts recommend not leaving them alone and removing weapons, alcohol and drugs from their possession.
Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a mental health professional. Also consider having the person call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255) or text START to 741741 to get immediate help from a trained crisis counselor. You can also call 911 and ask for an officer with crisis intervention training to respond.
For schools in particular, the state of Colorado maintains an anonymous tip service called Safe2Tell that has successfully interrupted and prevented suicides. The line can be reached at 1-877-542-7233, safe2tell.org or via the service’s mobile app.
Local mental health provider Mind Springs health maintains a 24/7 crisis line at (888) 207-4004 and a “warm line” for people to talk through their concerns or problems with a trained clinician. That number is (844) 493-TALK (8255). Through these channels, Mind Springs can also send a trained professional to speak with someone face-to-face in a time of need.
The greater community is invited to join a Celebration of Pepi’s Life on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.