A Colorado man died over the weekend, after he drove his all-terrain vehicle off a 65-foot cliff in the White Wash Sand Dunes area northwest of Moab.
Alcohol was a factor in the accidental March 21 death of 31-year-old Arvada resident Jason Mondragon, according to Grand County Sheriff’s Lt. Kim Neal.
Grand County Sheriff’s deputies, along with Grand County Search and Rescue and Emergency Medical Services personnel, responded to the scene late Saturday night, following a report of the crash.
According to Neal, Mondragon was visiting the popular off-road riding area about 48 miles northwest of Moab with a group that included friends from Colorado. As the others stayed behind at their camp site, Mondragon set off on his own.
“He went for his ride around 9 or 10 at night, and they went looking for him when he didn’t return,” Neal said.
Mondragon was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, Neal said, and at this point, authorities have not determined how much Mondragon had been drinking.
“We won’t know that until the test results come back from the state medical examiner’s office,” Neal said.
Mondragon’s body was transported to Spanish Valley Mortuary; memorial services had not been announced by press time.
According to his Facebook page Mondragon loved outdoor activities and sports.
He worked at Mahnke Auto Body in Arvada for many years, and after steadily climbing his way up the ranks, he became its general manager in 2008.
The company’s website describes him as a natural leader who was driven to excel. Under his leadership, the Arvada Chamber of Commerce named Mahnke as a “Business of the Year” in 2010.
News of Mondragon’s death drew mixed reactions on the Denver newspaper Westword’s website. Some commenters were harshly critical of his actions that night, but Mondragon’s friends urged them to be respectful of the family at this difficult time.
“Love u brotha,” Westword member “raiderznation707” said. “Going to miss you my friend. We are (saddened) and words can’t express how we are feeling right now…u will be missed.”
Authorities say alcohol was a factor in death