A Ford Bronco Sport rolled approximately 400 feet from Colorado's notorious Black Bear Pass near Telluride Sunday morning, ejecting the driver and a dog (along with the Bronco Sport's engine) in the process. Both the driver and dog were hurt in the accident, but a passenger who had gotten out to spot apparently survived the ordeal unscathed.
According to The Durango Herald, the Bronco Sport was being driven by an inexperienced driver who was visiting from out-of-state. The driver was attempting to abort a climb up a series of one-way switchbacks when, in the process of turning around, the vehicle lost purchase on the rocky surface and rolled down the side of the mountain.
Black Bear Pass & Bridal Veil Rd are now open after closure from vehicle rollover. 23yof driver ejected w/serious injuries, transported by @TellurideFPD to @TellurideMC. Passenger was out of vehicle when rollover occurred, dog ejected & being treated at vet. No other injuries. pic.twitter.com/zAFPakulDi
— San Miguel Sheriff (@SheriffAlert) September 26, 2021
The pass is coveted for its spectacular views but infamous for incidents such as this one, which often close the pass for extended periods as authorities recover vehicles and, in some cases, victims (often pets). Usually, such incidents are the result of driver inexperience or a vehicle choice inadequate to the task at hand. In this case, the San Miguel Sheriff's office says, it's a little bit of both.
"Black Bear Pass is an extremely dangerous road & should only be driven by experienced off-road drivers in appropriate vehicles," the sheriff posted at the end of the above Twitter thread. "Legally, a 16yr-old who got his DL hours prior, may try to drive the pass in grandma's 80’s sedan. That doesn’t mean it’s safe."
The Bronco Sport, which slots beneath the iconic Bronco 4x4, shares much of its underpinnings with the Ford Escape. Even models equipped with all-wheel drive will struggle with hardcore off-road terrain. Authorities have also not yet confirmed whether the driver was wearing a seat belt when the incident occurred, noting however that it appears she was not.