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21 people rescued from Greyhound bus that tried to get around I-70 closure

The bus got stuck on a gravel road on Friday night in Garfield County, the Sheriff's Office said.

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — A Greyhound bus became a cautionary tale Friday for those thinking about taking a shortcut to get around the Interstate 70 Glenwood Canyon closure.

The bus got stuck about 22.5 miles up a high mountain gravel road on Friday night, according to the Garfield County Sheriff's Office (GCSO). Twenty-one people, including an older woman with heart conditions, needed to be rescued, GCSO said in a news release.

"Catastrophe was avoided this time," according to the release.

The bus got stuck on Coffee Pot Spring Road, which is used to access the White River National Forest wilderness area north of I-70. It's generally traveled by four-wheel drive and all-terrain vehicles and is not an alternative route around Glenwood Canyon, the Sheriff's Office said.

RELATED: Polis issues disaster declarations in response to I-70 mudslides

The Sheriff's Office was notified that the bus was stuck about 6 p.m. Friday.

A GCSO sergeant reached the site first and rescued the older woman. Another GCSO sergeant and members of the Garfield County Search and Rescue used two transport vans to bring the other passengers and driver down off the mountain.

Credit: Garfield County Sheriff's Office

Luggage from the bus was loaded onto a county emergency operations vehicle. The caravan of passengers and luggage reached I-70 shortly after midnight, the release says.

To make matters worse, the bus tore a hole through the bottom of its engine's oil pan and caused an oil spill by trying to drive the gravel road. A team was called in to clean up the spill.

GCSO reminded travelers not to follow GPS mapping in an attempt to get around the I-70 closure through Glenwood Canyon and said that backcountry roads "are unpredictable and can be treacherous or deadly for the unprepared traveler."

Credit: Garfield County Sheriff's Office
Luggage from the Greyhound Bus is loaded into an emergency operations vehicle.

When reached for comment, Greyhound released the following statement Saturday evening:

Greyhound is continuing to investigate the rerouting incident that lead to the immobile bus. All passengers have been transferred onto a relief bus and we are currently working to obtain equipment to retrieve the original coach. We have no further details at this time.

RELATED: I-70 closure means longer trips for trucking companies

The recommended route around the I-70 closure while traveling west is:

  • Exit I-70 at Exit 205 (Silverthorne)
  • Go west on Colorado 9 toward Kremmling
  • Continue west on U.S. 40 and south on Colorado 13
  • Return to I-70 at Rifle (Exit 90)

When traveling east, reverse the path. The detour can add between 90 minutes and 2 hours to the trip, depending on traffic.

RELATED: With I-70 closed, a new push for an alternate route through Glenwood Canyon

RELATED: Mudslides' impact on Hanging Lake remains unclear

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