Kentucky man ID’d in Tuesday rollover crash on Rabbit Ears; passersby free man pinned under vehicle
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Law enforcement have identified a man who was critically injured and air-lifted to a Denver hospital after rolling his SUV several times along U.S. Highway 40 on Rabbit Ears Pass.
Kenneth Brown, a 70-year-old man from Kentucky, was traveling eastbound near the west summit of the pass around noon when he attempted to pass several vehicles, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Mike Smith.
Brown lost control prior to passing all the cars, Smith said, which sent the SUV off the road. It rolled several times before coming to rest on the driver’s side.
Several drivers witnessed the crash and pulled over to help, Smith said.
Among those good Samaritans was Jenny Yessaian, who was driving to Steamboat from Denver for her son’s baseball tournament. She pulled over and ran across the street, joined by a handful of others.
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When Yessaian reached the SUV, she saw Brown pinned inside. He was conscious but trapped in his seat belt, according to Yessaian.
She and a group of about six people were able to push the car back onto its wheels and stayed with Brown until emergency medical services arrived.
A nurse in California, Yessaian assessed the man’s condition. Initially, Brown was conscious and able to tell her his name and age.
“But as time went on, his answers were not making much sense anymore,” she said.
According to Yessaian, the man had multiple lacerations to his head, wrists and legs. She used a handkerchief to tie off some of the wounds and reduce the bleeding.
“He was pretty messed up,” she said.
By the time Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters arrived on the scene, Brown had lost consciousness, according to Captain Travis Wilkinson. They immediately administered advanced life support emergency care, then transported him to an ambulance by the roadside.
A medical helicopter with Classic Air Medical landed on the road just before 1 p.m. and transported Brown, who was in critical condition, to the Denver Health Medical Center, according to Wilkinson. Upon arrival, Brown was taken into surgery.
Due to patient privacy laws, staff at the Denver hospital would not provide information on Brown’s current condition. He appears to still be in the intensive care unit.
No one else was injured, according to authorities.
Impairment is not suspected as a factor in the crash, according to Smith, who conducted an investigation of the incident. The highway was closed for about an hour.
Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies also assisted at the scene.
Steamboat Pilot & Today digital engagement editor Bryce Martin contributed to this report.
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