Garfield County deputies rescued 21 people, including one older woman with heart conditions, who were stranded in a Greyhound bus on a mountain road Friday night.
The bus was stranded roughly 22 miles up Coffee Pot Springs Road about 6 p.m., after a hole was torn through the bus engine’s oil pan as it struggled to go up the treacherous mountain road.
Garfield County deputies immediately responded to the bus from Glenwood Springs, armed with two transport vans to bring everyone off the mountain.
One deputy was sent explicitly to rescue the older woman with heart conditions, and the sheriff’s office also called in a crew for a hazardous materials spill to clean up the oil that had leaked on the road from the bus.
The bus occupants were loaded into the transport vehicles just before 11 p.m., the sheriff’s office said, with the rescue caravan arriving back to Interstate 70 just after midnight.
Coffee Pot Springs Road, the sheriff’s office said, is in the White River National Forest and is normally traversed by four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles.
“Catastrophe was avoided this time,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. “Travelers are advised not to follow GPS mapping in an attempt to circumvent the I-70 closure through Glenwood Canyon. Backcountry roads are unpredictable and can be treacherous or deadly for the unprepared traveler.”
The sheriff’s office urged drivers attempting to circumvent the I-70 closure in Glenwood Canyon to use the detour that has westbound drivers exiting the interstate at Silverthorne (Exit 205) traveling north on Colorado 9, then west on U.S. 40, and then south on Colorado 13 to get back on the interstate at Rifle (Exit 90). Eastbound drivers, the sheriff’s office said, should reverse that order.
“The detour can add between 1.5 hours to two hours to your trip, depending on traffic, but you will be on well-traveled and paved roads with multiple towns and rest areas along the way,” the sheriff’s office said.