Police conclude accident investigation

Craig police officers said they were uncertain as to why a vehicle with three local men drove off a cliff earlier this month, killing all the passengers inside.

An investigation into the fatal accident shed no light on the question.

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"No factual basis for the vehicle driving over the cliff can be established," the Craig Police Department reported in a statement Tuesday. "However, based on the evidence, detectives do not believe that the incident was the result of an intentional act of the driver."

Craig residents Waylon William Owens-Plantiko, 28, David Kim Johnston, 32, and Jaron Earl Green, 31, died at 1:40 a.m. June 1 after the vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, plummeted 125 feet off the Sandrocks cliff, near Green Street. The men were pronounced dead at the scene.

The police statement elaborates on findings from autopsy and toxicology tests, which Moffat County Coroner Owen Grant released Sunday.

"Based on the results of the investigation, detectives believe that the vehicle owner (Owens-Plantiko) was the driver at the time of the incident," the statement reads.

"Toxicology reports indicate that Mr. Owens-Plantiko's blood alcohol level at the time of the incident was .188 BAC, 2.3 times the legal limit allowed for driving. The other occupants were also under the influence of alcohol. David Johnston's BAC was .200, and Jaron Green's BAC was .244. As stated earlier by the coroner, no other drugs were found in any of the victims."

Witnesses reported to police that the three men bought alcohol from a local liquor store May 31 and were observed drinking at a local bar from 11 p.m. May 31 to about 1 a.m. June 1, or immediately before the time of the accident.

The Colorado State Patrol assisted the Police Department with the accident probe and conducted a speed analysis of the scene.

The State Patrol reported tire tracks found on the dirt road leading to the cliff, indicating the vehicle was "under control and not traveling at an excess speed.

"The analysis indicated the vehicle was traveling at approximately 12 miles per hour at the last point of contact on the cliff wall prior to going airborne and falling to the ground," the statement reads. "The vehicle's impact speed with the ground is estimated at approximately 46 (miles per hour)."

A mechanical inspection of the vehicle's braking system revealed no defects and that the brakes were working normally, according to the police statement.

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