El Paso Sheriff's Office releases name of flash flood victim


A Teller county man has been identified as the victim of Friday evening's flood in the lower Ute Pass area on U.S. Highway 24. One more person is possibly still missing.

"The victim who died along Highway 24 near mile marker 297 during the flash flood on August 9, 2013 has been identified as 53-year-old John Collins of Teller County. Mr. Collins’ body was recovered from a large amount of debris which covered the westbound lanes of Highway 24. His vehicle was in the same general area but further west on Highway 24; it is unknown if Mr. Collins exited his vehicle by choice or if the rapidly rushing water and debris forced him from his vehicle," according to a release from El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

"According to the El Paso County Coroner’s Office, the cause of Mr. Collins’ death is believed to be drowning," the release said.

"The Sheriff’s Office extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends Mr. Collins leaves behind. The Collins family has asked members of the media to respect their privacy during this trying time."

"A body of a deceased adult male has been found and removed from the debris on Highway 24 near mile marker 297. The body was not inside a vehicle and much of the body was buried beneath significant amounts of debris on the westbound lanes of Highway 24. Identity of the victim is not yet known as no form of identification was with the body," said an earlier release from El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Nearly 1.5 inches of rain fell in 30 minutes on Friday night in an area devastated by a wildfire last year, causing a creek to overflow its banks and cascade across a state highway and into the town of Manitou Springs, about 6.5 miles west of Colorado Springs.

Manitou Springs Police Chief Joe Ribeiro told a news conference on Saturday that one of three people reported missing earlier in the day had been located, but two people remained unaccounted for.

Authorities said that a 24-year-old man who was reported missing after floods was located. The only other person reported as missing is described as a petite woman who was seen clinging to a tree during the flood. 

Ribeiro said about 40 vehicles swept away in the torrent had been towed out of the debris, while six buildings had been deemed unsafe to enter and another 11 structures sustained limited damage from the flood and mud flow.



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