SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah Highway Patrolman has confirmed that Manhattanite David Welch didn’t die immediately after crashing his van into an 80-foot ravine on September 3.
Welch, 54, drove off a desolate portion of Interstate 70 into the ravine a day after leaving his home in Kansas on Sept. 2 without telling his family where he was going, according to Utah authorities.
On Oct. 18, a hitchhiker looked down the ravine – about 45 minutes from the town of Green River — and saw a mangled, maroon Pontiac van. When police arrived at the accident, they found Welch’s body in the car.
The Salt Lake City Tribune reported Wednesday that Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Scott Robertson said Welch might have fallen asleep at the wheel when he crashed, because the road curves at the spot where Welch left the pavement.
Robertson also said that Welch suffered several injures and couldn’t escape, so he passed his time writing notes to his family. They were too personal to elaborate, he said.
Police do not know exactly when Welch died. They are waiting for the results of a medical examiner’s investigation.
Welch’s wife, Kelly, who is an associate professor at Kansas State University, used Twitter during six-week period her husband was gone to find tips about his disappearance.
In one of her tweets after her husband was discovered, Kelly Welch revealed that he lived for “several days” after the crash.
She also tweeted that the family saw her husband’s death certificate on Monday, several days after his funeral on Friday.