Most read stories of 2019: Missing hiker, fatal car wrecks, mountain lion fight
The following were the 10 most read stories of 2019 based on website traffic at SkyHiNews.com.
Ryan Albert, 30, of New Jersey was reported overdue on Oct. 4, 2018, when he didn’t return from his hike on Long’s Peak and search efforts began the day after and continued through the season, despite a few suspensions due to weather. On May 25, two climbing rangers conducting a patrol of Long’s Peak and discovered some of Albert’s belongings, which led authorities to find his body under deep snow at an elevation of roughly 12,300 feet.
Kratom is a substance derived from Mitragyna speciosa, a tropical evergreen tree that is native to Southeast Asia. Much of it sold in the United States is grown and harvested from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, where the substance has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. While it may initially appear innocuous, like any other natural supplement, many public health officials, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, were sounding alarms on the unregulated substance.
Two people — Amber R. Saldate, 33, and John A. Saldate, 59 — were charged with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty each after the Grand County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into a video showing a horse being pulled by its head behind a pickup truck.
Raymond Allen and Betty Jean Shelton of Saratoga, Wyoming, were killed following a multiple-vehicle crash on Highway 40 several miles east of Granby after a pick-up truck and Buick sedan crashed on the east side of the highway. The driver accused of causing the crash has a trial scheduled for 2020.
A man from Golden died of natural causes while skiing Mary Jane territory when he suffered what appeared to be a medical episode. Ski Patrol tried to save the man by performing CPR on him before he was transported to Denver Health Winter Park Medical Center, where continued efforts to revive him were also unsuccessful.
6. Man fights off mountain lion with pocketknife (Aug. 18)
Richard Marriott was lucky his brush with a predator didn’t turn out much worse when he was stalked by a mountain lion outside Kremmling this summer while he was scouting for elk. Marriott told the Sky-Hi News he fought back with rocks and a dull pocketknife after he tripped, fell to the ground and the cat grazed one of his legs with one claw. Because the mountain lion was aggressive toward humans, state wildlife officials tracked and killed the animal. For Marriott, it was a sad outcome he wished could have been avoided.
7. Two killed when car goes off Trough Road (Jan. 4)
Two people — Toby J. Hargadine and Crysta Berntsen — died in a car wreck in early 2019 when the truck they were in went off Trough Road shortly after the New Year. The wreck led to the installation of new guardrails along part of the route this summer.
Authorities discovered a credit card skimmer attached to one of the machines inside a store, though investigators did not believe any data breach occurred because the device was not removed to access any of the data stored on it.
9. CSP: Two killed in wreck on US 40 east of Kremmling (July 18)
Two people — Erin Groves and Nicholas Polashek, both of Blackhawk — died in a head-on collision just outside of Kremmling on US Highway 40 that injured three other people. Groves was driving a 1998 Jeep Cherokee when the SUV went off the right side of the road, came back onto the highway and hit a 1999 Dodge Ram head-on about a mile east of Kremmling. CSP said investigators believe impairment was a factor in the wreck.
Bradley Dinsmore of Granby died in a head-on crash on US Highway 40 west of Tabernash that involved four vehicles. According to investigators, Dinsmore was not at fault in the collision, and another driver was cited on the scene for careless driving causing death, following too closely and operating an uninsured motor vehicle on a roadway. There was no suspicion that drugs or alcohol contributed to the incident. Additionally, officials from Colorado State Patrol said that excessive speed was not believed to be a factor.
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