Craig man survives motorcycle wreck

A Craig man who suffered head injuries in a motorcycle accident will likely return to work Monday, according to Theron's Place employees who spoke with their boss Thursday.

Theron Kohpay, 32, lost control of his Harley-Davidson Vrod Wednesday afternoon while traveling west on Highway 40 west of town.

An ambulance transported Kohpay and his passenger, 23-year-old Jennifer Elder, to The Memorial Hospital. TMH transferred Kohpay to Yampa Valley Medical Center for plastic surgery, according to hospital officials.

The Steamboat hospital treated Kohpay and released him the same day.

Elder was treated at TMH and released.

Neither of the victims wore a helmet, according to an accident report by the Colorado State Patrol.

Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Gary Meirose said Colorado law does require motorcyclists to wear eye protection but not helmets. But Meirose said the state patrol recommends the use of helmets.

"I think they save lives just like seatbelts," Meirose said.

According to "The Hurt Report," a study by the University of Southern California Traffic Safety Center, the most deadly injuries to motorcyclists are head and chest injuries, and the "single critical factor" in the prevention of head injuries is the use of a safety helmet.

A Craig woman who witnessed the accident said a mere 150 feet separated her from the oncoming victims as they were thrown from the bike.

Trini Riley said she was traveling east on Highway 40 when she saw Kohpay lose control of the motorcycle.

"I came up on the wreck," Riley said. "They were about 150 feet from us and his tire blew out from underneath him."

According to Riley, the motorcycle slid into the ditch while Kohpay and Elder "rolled down the road."

Riley called 911 and assisted the victims.

"I got them off the side of the road and laid them down," Riley said. "I got him on his side so his head would quit bleeding."

Both Kohpay and Elder were "covered in road rash," Riley said. Kohpay was bleeding from the head and Elder's elbow appeared to be badly wounded.

"The end of her elbow was pretty much torn off," Riley said.

Riley said the two appeared to be doing much better Wednesday night when she checked on them.

Trent Wynkoop and Chuck Wies, who work at the custom body shop owned by Kohpay, said he stopped by to check in Thursday and may be back to work as soon as Monday. They said he appeared to be in good spirits despite being shaken-up.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.