Man dies in motorcycle crash west of Steamboat Springs |

Man dies in motorcycle crash west of Steamboat Springs

A Classic Air helicopter takes off from the scene of a motorcycle crash on U.S. Highway 40 on July 15. The man who was driving the motorcycle was airlifted to Yampa Valley Medical Center in critical condition, where he later died.
Scott Franz

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

A 56-year-old man from Nebraska died Friday at Yampa Valley Medical Center following a motorcycle crash on U.S. Highway 40 between Steamboat Springs and Milner.

Richard L. Backer was driving his 1996 Harley Davidson motorcycle toward Steamboat with his wife, Sandy, as a passenger just before noon when the motorcycle went off the right side of the road and rolled over several times.

The Backers, of Randolph, Nebraska, were both thrown off the bike.

Drivers who witnessed the crash immediately went to the scene to render aid.

The bystanders performed CPR on Richard Backer until emergency responders arrived.

“They kept losing his pulse,” witness Jamie Washburn said of the bystanders who were helping. “But they kept talking to him, telling him to hang in there.”

One bystander held the man’s hand.

And a teenager at the scene held an umbrella over Sandy Backer in the aftermath of the crash.

Richard Backer was airlifted to the hospital from the scene of the crash in a Classic Air helicopter in critical condition.

He later died at the hospital.

Sandy Backer sustained moderate injuries and was in stable condition at the hospital Friday afternoon.

According to a news release from the Colorado State Patrol, excessive speed is not suspected as a contributing factor in the crash.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue and the Routt County Sheriff’s Office assisted the State Patrol at the scene of the crash.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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