Steamboat man dies after hitting horse near Rabbit Ears Pass |

Steamboat man dies after hitting horse near Rabbit Ears Pass

A Steamboat Springs man died on Sunday after his vehicle smashed into a horse that escaped from a nearby ranch at the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.
John F. Russell

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A longtime Steamboat Springs resident died at a hospital in Denver on Sunday after his vehicle hit a horse near the base of Rabbit Ears Pass.

Jim Boucher, 83, was driving southbound on U.S. Highway 40, up the pass, on Sept. 15 when his vehicle hit a horse that had escaped from a nearby ranch, according to Lt. Ryan Adrian with the Routt County Sheriff’s Office. 

A semi-trailer hit a second horse, but the driver was uninjured, according to Adrian.

Deputies and Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue medics responded to a report of the crashes around 9:40 p.m. on the night of the incident. After the collision, the horse smashed into the windshield and struck Boucher, according to Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli. 

Boucher was suffering from critical injuries when medics arrived on scene, Cerasoli said. They were able to stabilize him as they transported him to the UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat. Boucher was immediately flown to a hospital in Denver to be treated for multiple blunt-force trauma injuries, according to Cerasoli. 

Boucher died Sunday from those injuries, according to Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg. 

The ranch that owns the horses is not criminally liable for the incident, Lt. Adrian said, but the owners could face a civil suit.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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