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Neighbors Growing Together | May 21, 2018

Officials release autopsy on former councilman

By David Hotle, Golden Triangle News Service | Jun 28, 2017

GUNNISON COUNTY, Colorado — According to a preliminary autopsy on Washington resident and former councilor Russ Zieglowsky, who died in an accident on the Taylor River, the Gunnison County medical examiner has ruled his death was from drowning and the manner of death was accidental.

In a press release issued by the Gunnison County Sheriff’s office, at 2:20 p.m. June 21 officers received a report concerning a possible drowning victim. Initial investigations indicated Zieglowsky was non-responsive to CPR after being rescued from a Taylor River rafting accident.


Zieglowsky was on a rafting trip with Gunnison-based Scenic River Tours at the time of the accident. According to the Gunnison County Times, water managers with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation had ramped up releases from Taylor Park Reservoir dam to avoid the reservoir “spilling.” This created high water and turbulent conditions in Taylor River. Releases were increased to 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) on June 12, 800 cfs on June 13, 900 cfs on June 15 and 1,200 cfs on June 19. Around the time the accident occurred Wednesday, the Taylor River at Almont was flowing at a rate of 1,660 cfs, according to stream flow data reported by the U.S. Geological Survey.


Scenic River Tours co-owner Matt Brown said the incident occurred on a fairly easy stretch of the river.

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