Van Removed from Colorado National Monument

By: Aaron Luna Email
By: Aaron Luna Email

Portions of Rimrock Road were closed Thursday morning as crews maneuvered a 240 ton crane into place above Red Canyon to remove a van. The driver 34–year–old Daniel Lyons survived the crash but is behind bars on charges of sexual assault on a child.

Authorities say Lyons was trying to kill himself by driving off the edge of the Monument.

"Biggest worry was the car was wrapped around the rock," operations supervisor Mike Strange. Joan Anzelmo, Superintendent of the Colorado National Monument says, "It was sticking out there like a sore thumb or something like out of the imagination of Hollywood."

Just over a week ago authorities say the driver of that van, 34-year-old Daniel Lyons attempted to drive over the edge, and into the canyon but got stuck. Anzelmo says Lyons is one out of three people to survive such a crash. Anzelmo says, "This one was happy in that a person remained alive." But now he faces even harder times ahead. "I'm sure that when Mr. Lyons realized he hadn't died he couldn't quite figure out if he was in hell over heaven," says Anzelmo.

It took Girardi's Crane crew over a week to plan for the removal and it will cost over 12 thousand dollars. Something Monument Officials say they're going to have to pay themselves."
Anzelmo says, "I don't know whether through the court system we will ever see recovery of some of these funds. We are certainly going to go after that and the resource damage."

While the day ended on a good note. Anzelmo says she'd rather not see this type of thing happen again. "We want to see this stopped this is ridiculous, that people are coming in here and launching their vehicles into this beautiful environment."

Monument officials say the cost will come out of a Central National Park Special Account and that it won't affect any projects here locally.

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