PRICE — Authorities have located a crumpled Jeep with two bodies inside presumed to be those of Grand Junction, Colo., men missing more than a week.
Brian Axe and Mark Widegren, both 28, had been living at a workers' camp in Carbon County and had driven two hours away to have dinner in Price a week ago Saturday.
Friends and relatives who volunteered to search were the first to spot the Jeep Grand Cherokee at the bottom of Cottonwood Canyon, a rugged offshoot of Nine Mile Canyon. The Jeep had apparently run off the dirt Cottonwood Canyon Road and fallen 300 feet or more to the rocks below. Axe and Widegren were in Utah working on a natural gas pipeline.
"They did some socializing and then they went home, back to the man camp, and got in a crash," said Deputy Sheriff Wally Hendricks with the Carbon County Sheriff's Office. "I do know that road extremely well. It is one of the most insidiously dangerous roads, probably in the state, and there is almost zero room for error on points in that road."
When the vehicle was originally located, family and friends were hopeful there was a possibility their loved ones were alive.
"These guys were friends and family of a huge, huge number of people," said Todd Widegren, Mark Widegren's brother. "And everybody that is here is here for the love of those guys."
When authorities determined the crash was non-survivable and notified family around 5:30 p.m., sobs and hugs erupted.
Utah Highway Patrol and the Utah Department of Transportation are conducting an accident investigation. Identification of the two men won't be official until an autopsy is complete.