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62-year-old man dies while off-road motorcycle riding in the Uintas

Summit County Search and Rescue
Summit County Search and Rescue
Summit County Search and Rescue

A Garmin SOS signal alerted Search and Rescue to an injured motorcycle rider on the Shingle Creek trail this weekend in the Uinta Mountains.

On Saturday, a person found an unconscious man and an off-road motorcycle on the Shingle Creek trail less than a quarter of a mile off the Mirror Lake Highway. The person used the victim's Garmin inReach to trigger an SOS signal. A cadre of emergency responders arrived on the scene as the witness performed CPR. Summit County EMS, Air Med, and law enforcement officers arrived and attempted to revive the victim. However, the patient died at the scene.

A 24/7 Garmin response team member identifies the location and notifies the closest emergency agency when the SOS signal is triggered. Summit County Sheriff's Lieutenant Kacey Bates said the response time in this incident was quick.

"Somebody else came across the person that had gotten in the accident, and they activated the SOS signal, Bates said. There was a response from State Parks within 15 minutes to that individual, where they had started CPR."

Garmin inReach is a communication device if cell service is unavailable. The technology works off satellite networks and transmits longitude and latitude coordinates worldwide. Tracking and waypoint navigation features are available on Garmin without a subscription, but the features like all the SOS capabilities, text messaging, weather, location requests, and map sharing require a paid subscription.

Summit County Sheriff's Lieutenant Alan Siddoway is the Search and Rescue liaison for the Sheriff's office. He told KPCW there is an increase in emergency calls from the backcountry. For several years, more people have been carrying the Garmin inReach device. He said the technology has made backcountry rescue more efficient and cost-effective.

"These devices are capable of two-way text communication, so they can actually text us while on scene what the nature of the problem is," Siddoway said. "All of them provide us with GPS coordinates, which is very, very helpful in the backcountry. As you can imagine, with the vast area that Summit County EMS services to being able to drive or fly right to the person that's having the problem instead of having to search a general area."

Search and Rescue transported the victim off the trail by ATV and toboggan, bringing him to the highway, then to the Medical Examiner's office. The cause of death is not yet determined.

The man's name will not be released until the next of kin is notified.

The Sheriff's report states officers were able to find the man's campsite and collect his belongings for safekeeping.

Corrected: September 27, 2022 at 1:43 PM MDT
An earlier version of this report incorrectly identified Summit County Sheriff's Lt. Kacey Bates.
KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.