A Santa Clara man was found dead Dec. 14 close to his truck, which had left the road in Santa Clara Canyon.
New Mexico State Police officer Robert Vigil wrote in his incident report that he was called by Santa Clara Pueblo Sheriff Joseph Gutierrez to help with the investigation because the David Lyon’s truck and body had come to rest on Los Alamos County property
Lyon, 53, went hunting early Dec. 11 and did not return at the end of the day as he said he would.
Santa Clara Police Officer Jason Gallegos told Vigil that Lyon’s family reported him missing Dec. 12. A ground search was conducted for two days but they had still not found Lyon by the morning of Dec. 14.
Gutierrez gained access to a helicopter the morning of Dec. 14 and did an aerial search for Lyon. He found Lyon and his truck about 12 miles up Santa Clara Canyon.
Vigil wrote that Gutierrez told him the helicopter was able to land nearby and they hiked to where Lyon’s truck had come to rest. Gutierrez flew back to the pueblo and notified the family of Lyon’s death. He also requested State Police to assist and the Office of Medical Investigators to investigate as well.
Vigil wrote he arrived in Santa Clara about 4:30 p.m. and because of weather and road conditions he rode with Gutierrez up the canyon to the point where Lyon’s truck left Forest Service Road 445.
“From the top of USF RD 445, I observed a debris field down the mountain toward the SW,” he wrote.
It had snowed since Lyon’s truck plowed approximately 80 yards down a ravine so the truck’s tracks were covered. Vigil found branches and trees bent or broken along the path and items that had fallen out of the truck.
At the bottom of the ravine Vigil found the truck, which had severe damage. All the windows were broken and Vigil wrote it could not be determined how many times the truck had rolled as it went down the hill.
Vigil found Lyon’s body outside the truck, near the front passenger wheel. He was covered in snow.
There were no alcohol containers anywhere and Vigil surmised weather was a major contributor to the crash because it was snowing the day Lyon went hunting and the road was still treacherous.
Office of Medical Investigators Officer Chris Martinez arrived on the crash scene shortly after Vigil. Martinez cleared the snow from on top of Lyon and did an initial assessment and found a small bruise on his stomach but little else. Because of the weather and the incline on which Lyon’s body was on, Martinez asked that they remove the body and relocate it to DeVargas Funeral Home for a more thorough examination.
A request for the autopsy is pending but Martinez said he most likely died of injuries from the accident.
According to his obituary, Lyon was a career Hotshot firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service and fought fires in many states around the southwest.