Jeep Cherokee Took a Huge Plunge Into the Icy Yampa River

Winter in Colorado is cold and snowy and can be extremely troublesome for some drivers. Recently, a Jeep Cherokee drove off the road and landed in the icy waters of the Yampa River. This river feeds directly into the Stagecoach Reservoir. The reason for the crash is one that many of us should think about before driving.

What were the driving conditions when the Jeep Cherokee went into the Yampa River?

Rescue Crews Working to Remove Jeep Cherokee from Yampa River
Rescue Crews Working to Remove Jeep Cherokee from Yampa River | Dylan Anderson, Steamboat Pilot & Today

The setting was a dry, sunny morning on Saturday, March 18, when the driver of the Jeep appeared on the side of the road to flag down a truck passing by. According to the Steamboat Pilot, the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk appeared to have launched off a snow bank before landing in the river. The crash site was County Road 16 toward the junction with Routt County Road 14.

First responders on the scene estimated the Jeep flew nearly 65 before landing in the river. This conclusion was made because of the lack of tire tracks in the snow between where the Jeep went off the road and where it landed in the river.

Was the driver of the Jeep SUV injured?

Other than a bloody lip and a racing pulse, the driver appeared to be in good condition. The other occupant of the vehicle, a dog, was also deemed to be in good condition. The pair are lucky to have landed in the water during this cold time of year. The ice of the river likely aided in a softer landing for the Jeep.

Firefighters cleaned up oil from the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk

Jeep Cherokee Being Pulled Out of the Yampa River by a Tow Truck
Jeep Cherokee Being Pulled Out of the Yampa River by a Tow Truck | Dylan Anderson, Steamboat Pilot & Today

Unfortunately, because the vehicle landed in the water, local Oak Creek firefighters had to clean up oil from the Jeep SUV. Using oil booms and absorbent pads, they were able to clean up and contain the oil before it leaked too much and moved from the river downstream to the reservoir. The Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue team provided some of the oil booms and absorbent pads for this cleanup.

The cleanup of this Jeep required cutting away oil-soaked ice, absorbent pads, and oil booms. Thankfully, work crews didn’t need to clean up gasoline spillage from this accident. Had the Jeep Cherokee leaked gasoline into the Yampa River, it would have left a rainbow-like film on top, but none was present.

The first man on the scene had a vehicle equipped to clear snow to allow a tow truck easier access to the Jeep in the river. This helped make vehicle rescue much easier.

What caused this Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk to fly off the road and into the Yampa River?

Dog Sticking Head Out of Car
Dog Sticking Head Out of Car | Getty Images

The driver of the Jeep SUV confirmed his dog distracted him while driving, causing him to veer off the road and into the river. This should serve as a warning to pet owners who take their furry friends on road trips. It’s important to keep pets restrained and away from the driver in any vehicle to avoid accidents.

Thankfully, in this case, both the driver and dog are ok.

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