Illinois driver, 23, identified from fingerprints |

Illinois driver, 23, identified from fingerprints

Veronica Whitney

Because Carrol’s body was too disfigured to make a physical identification, Barnes said they had to wait for the identification of Carrol’s fingerprints from authorities in Illinois.

The cause of death officially is listed as massive internal and head injuries, said Ken Wilson, deputy county coroner.

The incident occurred at at noon Saturday when the Carrol’s Camaro left the road from pullout just before Red Cliff Bridge just west of Red Cliff. The car went off the cliff and tumbled several times, ejecting the driver and leaving parts of the car strewn down the hillside before coming to a final stop, Police said. An eyewitness on the bridge saw the car speeding around a curve before plunging off the embankment, police said.

State patrol said Monday they had no new information to release on the accident nor its cause.

“We’re still waiting for the results of toxicology tests,” Wilson said. “But we didn’t find any alcohol in the car nor did his body had the smell of it.”

Wilson said Carrol’s parents, who live in Chicago, have been notified. They they couldn’t tell what their son was doing in Colorado.

“People who don’t know the roads well up there can’t understand how hazardous they are,” said Eagle County Sheriff A.J. Johnson Monday.

Although the cause of the accident still is unknown, Johnson said a lot of people are distracted by cell phones or other things when they drive.

Highway 24 between Red Cliff and Minturn, to the north, is a twisty, two-lane mountain road, the site of several accidents in the past years. Hundreds of residents from Leadville and Red Cliff make the trip daily to jobs in the Vail Valley. Concerns for the safety of travelers have increased significantly since the road between Minturn and Leadville was designated a National Scenic Byway in June 1998, and following these accidents:

– June 1999 – Amy Sue Fairchild, a 17-year-old Leadville girl, was killed when she drove off a cliff.

– January 1999 – Leadville resident Gabriel Medina is killed after his car plunged off the highway

As part of the improvements, the Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, installed more. The project included 12,000 feet of railing from Battle Mountain Pass to Tennessee Pass.

Later, another 1,200 feet of barriers were erected.

The decision of where to place the new guardrails takes into account two considerations – the angle of the slope behind the rail and the accident history of the spot. The guardrails also can be installed to keep traffic away from obstacles, such as rocks, poles or culverts.

In the case of Battle Mountain Pass, however, the primary use is to protect drivers at cliffs and sharp curves.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 454 or at

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