MEEKER I On Friday at about 3 p.m., a rainy and slushy spring storm asserted itself, allegedly causing a medium-sized SUV to leave the road and roll over into a deep ravine on the side of Highway 13, just south of Meeker. Of the two occupants, a pregnant woman was trapped in the vehicle.
Occurring near mile marker 37 across the road from the Meeker Sportsman’s Club, the vehicle came to a rest upright about 60 feet down the steep embankment. The ravine was so deep, in fact, that the vehicle was not readily visible from the highway.
The passenger, 24-year-old Andrew Lawrence of Meeker, was able to exit the vehicle and call in the accident. The driver, Lawrence’s 24-year-old wife, Brittany Walsh, was trapped and had to be removed by Meeker Rescue 1, which arrived on the scene quickly. Among those first responders were Steve Allen, Vaughn Moody, Michael North and Laura Smith. Personnel from Fire Engine 525 also aided at the scene, as well as Patrol Lt. Glenn Wilson of the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office.
Fire Chief Marshall Cook said the most difficult aspect of the rescue “was getting Walsh up the steep embankment.”
Lawrence was not injured, but, because of her pregnancy, Walsh was rushed to Pioneers Medical Center and later transferred to the obstetrics/gynecology unit at Saint Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction.
Colorado State Trooper Eric Dibenedetto, the investigating law enforcement officer, stated that the cause of the accident was “slushy and icy roads,” adding that Walsh “was going between 65 and 70 miles per hour.”
While the posted speed limit is 65, Dibenedetto stressed that road conditions must be factored in.
Walsh told the Herald Times on Monday that she could not remember whether she actually lost consciousness as a result of the accident.
“I remember hydroplaning and counter steering, and that’s it,” she said.
Having given birth to her baby at the hospital, Walsh said Monday that, “I was 34 weeks. I had the baby by C-section on Friday.” She went on to clarify that this was actually an emergency Cesarean section birth. While there are risks in this procedure, according to the Cleveland Clinic (clevelandclinic.org), “The time from incision to delivery takes about two minutes.”
Mother Brittany is doing well as is baby daughter Scarlett Rose Lawrence, who entered the world at 5 pounds, 10 ounces and at 17 and one half inches in length.
“We all feel incredibly lucky,” Walsh said.