MONTROSE – Two elk hunters have been charged in connection to a bizarre crash that killed a Hotchkiss motorcyclist last year.
The two hunters, 47-yearold Mark Valdez, of Delta, and 43-year-old Kevin Keener, of Fountain, are accused of killing 34-year-old Trevor Rawson.
Troopers allege the hunters unintentionally killed the motorcyclist as they attempted to drag an elk across a rural Montrose County highway on October 12, 2013.
Troopers say the men attempted to retrieve an elk, which they shot earlier in the day, from a hillside near Highway 92. With the pickup on one side of the highway and the elk on the other, the men allegedly stretched a chain and rope across both lanes and shoulders of the highway. Attaching the chain and rope to the elk, they began to drag it toward the road.
At approximately 6 p.m., Rawson was traveling westbound on his motorcycle on Highway 92, approaching the two men and the elk. He collided with the chain and rope, which were stretched tightly across the road at chest height. The collision threw Rawson from his motorcycle, knocking off his helmet and causing fatal injuries. Rawson died at the scene.
Troopers say the men failed to render aid, did not call 911 at any time, and attempted to persuade a teenage witness to assist in covering up their involvement.
The two men were charged with failing to render aid, vehicular homicide, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide among other things.
A criminal background check done by 9NEWS revealed Valdez has been in trouble with police before. He has three DUIs on his record.
A criminal background check on Keener shows three DUIs, as well as arrests for domestic violence and possession of a controlled substance.
9NEWS reached out to both men for comment but haven't heard back.
9NEWS also reached out to the family of Trever Rawson. His mother said she didn't want to comment. No one else returned our calls.
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