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Kentwood woman still missing after accident in Colorado

Kentwood woman still missing after accident in Colorado

Author: Action News 17/Monday, July 1, 2019/Categories: Front Page, Latest Stories

A search and rescue mission continues near Lake City, Colorado for a Kentwood woman who was declared missing last week after a high water accident.

Tessie Strickland, 64, of Kentwood, has not been located as rescue teams enter the fifth day of a search for her in Hinsdale County, Colorado.

The following is a release from the County Sheriff's office:
LAKE CITY, Colo., July 1, 2019 – The subject of a search and rescue operation in Hinsdale County has been identified as Tessie Strickland, 64, of Kentwood, Louisiana. Strickland was declared missing on Thursday evening, June 27, after the Jeep she was traveling in lost power while crossing Pole Creek in the Rio Grande National Forest.

Strickland has not been located, and the search for her continues in an eight-mile area along the banks of Pole Creek to the Rio Grande River and on to the Rio Grande Reservoir.

Strickland and husband Tommy Strickland were staying in Silverton, Colorado, and were planning to spend the day in neighboring Creede on July 27. They took Forest Service Road 520 over Stony Pass and crossed through Pole Creek in their Jeep in the morning. The couple returned in the early evening and attempted to cross the creek again, though it had become swollen with run off during the day.

According to Tommy Strickland, the couple’s Jeep stalled in the creek and was swept downstream a short distance. When the vehicle began filling with water, the couple climbed on to the roof. With no one around to provide assistance, Strickland said they decided the best course of action was to jump from the vehicle and try to reach the shore.

Mr. Strickland said he and his wife were both swept downstream. He was attempting to help his wife to the shore but was unsuccessful. Ultimately he was able to reach the bank, but she was not and has not been seen since. Mr. Strickland was found by passersby and taken to Silverton to contact authorities.

Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by San Juan County Sheriff Department at approximately 8:20 p.m. that evening. Searches began immediately and continue today, with planning for additional resources and search operations currently underway.

Extensive search operations have included more than 25 personnel from Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Department, Mineral County, San Juan County and helicopter search provided by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. Personnel have been conducting foot searches along the banks of the waterways as well as using a drone for aerial searches in areas not accessible on foot.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Strickland and his family as they go through this incredibly difficult time,” said Hinsdale County Sheriff Justin Casey.

Pole Creek runs along the border of Hinsdale and San Juan counties in the Rio Grande National Forest. The creek crosses FSR 520 at Stony Pass, a popular four-wheel drive trail that runs from Silverton to Lake City.

Because of high levels of snow in the backcountry, rivers and streams are running at dangerously high levels. Passage at Pole Creek has been closed by the Rio Grande Forest Service at this time. Those recreating in the back country are advised to use caution around waterways of any type and to avoid crossing streams and rivers entirely. Weather and temperature fluctuations during the day can cause water levels to rise quickly and dramatically. Streams accessible in the morning could easily become impassable in the evening.

For more information follow Hinsdale County on social media:

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