Swept away: Family survives I-70 avalanche


Shaune Golemon and his family were headed home from a day of skiing on Sunday when the unimaginable happened. His young daughter who was in the back seat of their truck was the first to notice the danger coming their way as they drove home on Interstate 70 in Summit County, Colorado.

“She started saying, ‘Hey! Hey! Hey!’ You know, trying to get our attention, you know, ‘What is that?’, Shaune Golemon said. “And Tram [Shaune’s wife] looked over and she started yelling, you know, ‘Avalanche! Avalanche!”

He said he had seconds to decide what to do. Golemon said he thought about trying to speed up or slow down but ultimately due to the road conditions, decided it was best to take his foot off the gas and coast.

“So much was going through my head at the time. I was checking the rearview to see if I had room to stop, you know,” he said.  “I was trying to gauge can I outrun it, and eventually, I told her, I said, ‘there’s nothing we can do. Just hold onto something.'”

The Golemon’s vehicle was one of several swept off the eastbound lanes of the highway and into the median by an avalanche.

“I let off my brakes and then here it comes. It just blasts us,” he said. “I just got to drive through a cloud of smoke. It can’t be that bad, right. Then, once we felt it, that’s real fear started to kick in.”

The family was caught in the second of two avalanches on Sunday. Both happened between Copper Mountain and Frisco in an area known as Officer’s Gulch. I-70 was closed down for several hours Sunday afternoon after the second slide covered the highway.

“As soon as it hit and we felt the force and we felt our truck, you know, literally sliding off the road, that’s when it became really real,” Golemon said. “It was loud. It was complete white-out. We couldn’t see anything.”

Dash cameras mounted inside the Golemon’s truck show their vehicle being overcome by the wall of the snow.

The family opened the vehicle’s sunroof for some fresh air while they waited for emergency services and a tow truck to show up. Luckily, no one was injured.

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