GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A Greyhound bus driver found themselves and 21 passengers in a tough, and potentially dangerous, situation on Friday night at around 6 p.m. As a way to get around the ongoing Interstate 70 closure, the driver drove on Coffee Pot Springs Road and later got stuck.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office says the dirt and gravel road is used to access the White River National Forest. They say four-wheel and all-terrain vehicles use the road.
Sheriff’s officials say the bus suffered a tear in the engine’s oil pan causing oil to spill on the road. Hazmat crews were called to clean up the spill and prevent any more from spilling.
First responders and two transport vans drove to the bus which was about 22 miles up the road. Officials say one of the passengers was an older woman with heart conditions.
As a storm threatened their rescue, crews managed to get everyone and their luggage back down to Interstate 70 about six hours later.
“Catastrophe was avoided this time. Travelers are advised not to follow GPS mapping in an attempt to circumvent the I-70 closure through Glenwood Canyon. Backcountry roads are unpredictable and can be treacherous or deadly for the unprepared traveler,” the sheriff’s office stated in a news release on Saturday.
I-70 has been closed through Glenwood Canyon for more than a week after powerful storms sent an enormous amount of mud and debris onto the highway.
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First responders, including the Colorado State Patrol, as well as the Colorado Department of Transportation prefer drivers use the detour up to Steamboat Springs rather than backcountry roads that aren’t meant for commercial traffic.
The sheriff’s office says it is the responsibility of Greyhound to remove the bus.
Greyhound released the following statement to CBS4:
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.