The man killed in Colorado by a falling boulder is identified as an executive with Sprint. 45-year old Thomas Murphy was Vice President of corporate brand marketing for Sprint.
The Colorado State Patrol says a boulder the size of a briefcase fell of a mountain and crashed through the window of his family’s SUV Friday near Aspen.
Murphy was driving his 2007 Chevy Tahoe along with his wife and 11-year-old son when the boulder crashed down into his windshield. His son received moderate injuries. His wife struggled to control the car from the passenger seat.
Murphy and his family were returning home to Kansas City from a vacation. Murphy served as vice-president of corporate brand marketing at Sprint for the last 10 years. Sprint released a statement after hearing of his untimely death. “The employees of Sprint are deeply saddened on the death of Tom Murphy. Cheerful and enthusiastic, he was a highly effective marketing advocate for Sprint and a beloved member of Sprint’s NASCAR team.”
The Kansas City Star quoted Sgt. Rich Armstrong of the Colorado State Police as this type of accident being fairly common in Colorado. “It’s one of the hazards of driving in Colorado,” Armstrong said.
Deaths by falling rock are quite common in Colorado, because of the state’s unique mountainous terrain. CBS4 Denver reported in 2008 how the state set up hybrid fences along Interstate 70. The Colorado Department of Transportation has spent millions of dollars setting up and testing preventative barriers to at least slow down the falling rocks and minimize injury and death.
However, the sheer volume of traffic on Colorado’s roadways gives any driver a slight chance of danger. Falling rocks are most likely to occur after a period of rain, as the rocks thaw after a winter freeze. Drivers can be as vigilant as they want, but falling boulders are usually out of the line of sight of the driver, and it’s too quick to react anyway.