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Man who died after crash into Dolores River is identified

Robert Altimus Rust, 37, died after a car crash on Colorado Highway 145 early last week. (Courtesy Town of Mountain Village Police Department)
Rust was an employee of the town of Mountain Village

A missing man who died in a single-vehicle crash last week on Colorado Highway 145 has been identified by Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers.

Robert Altimus Rust, 37, died after his 2016 Chevy Silverado pickup crashed into the Dolores River at mile marker 29 near the Taylor Creek turnoff northeast of Dolores.

Rust, of Montrose, failed to negotiate a curve on the highway, jumped the guardrail and crashed down a steep embankment into the Dolores River, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis.

Rust had been reported missing by co-workers on Feb. 23 after he did not report to his job with the town of Mountain Village.

A notice was issued for him by the Mountain Village Police Department, and local agencies were searching for him, said Montezuma County Sheriff Steve Nowlin.

On Feb. 24, a San Miguel County search and rescue helicopter spotted the vehicle covered in more than a foot of fresh snow on the river in Montezuma County. Rust was found dead inside, Nowlin said. It was not clear when the crash occurred.

Nowlin said evidence suggested Rust survived the initial crash and had exited the vehicle before returning to it.

The vehicle rolled at least once, and landed upright in the river. It is not known whether Rust was wearing a seat belt, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The cause of death is pending an autopsy, Deavers said.

Rust’s dog survived the crash and was found at the crash scene.

The highway was closed for a few hours Thursday evening to allow for the investigation and to recover the vehicle.

According to a Tweet from the Mountain Village Police Department, Rust was a plaza supervisor for Mountain Village in San Miguel County.

The Dolores Volunteer Fire Department, Montezuma County Sheriff, Rico Fire Department, Colorado State Patrol, Southwest Health System ambulance, and the county coroner responded.