Gross Reservoir closed to recreation following fatal crash as crews work to recover truck

·2 min read

Jun. 22—Gross Reservoir will be closed for multiple weeks following a fatal truck crash as crews try to figure out how to safely remove the truck from the water.

According to Colorado State Patrol, Matthew Liu, 28, was driving a rock hauler south along Gross Dam Road near the reservoir just after midnight Saturday when he drove the truck went too close to the edge of the road, which is not paved, causing the ground beneath the truck to give way.

The truck rolled down the embankment and into Gross Reservoir in water up to 43 feet deep. Liu's body was found inside the truck later that day.

In a release Wednesday, Liu was identified as a six-year engineer with Kiewit Barnard Construction, which is conducting an expansion project at the reservoir.

"This incident will have a lasting impact on all of us," said Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead in a statement. "We extend our thoughts to friends and family of the engineer who tragically lost his life and recognize that it's going to be a long road for many, especially our extended family at Kiewit Barnard."

Recreation at Gross Reservoir will be closed for at least a few weeks as crews work to remove the truck from the water.

"The first step in removing the equipment from the reservoir is to complete a survey of the area to ensure the resources brought in are capable of extracting equipment of this size from complex underwater environments," Denver Water officials wrote in a release. "This is an important process to assess the terrain in and around where the equipment lies in the water, which will help determine the best, safest method to remove it from the water expeditiously and with the least amount of impact to the reservoir."

The closure prohibits on-water recreation, hiking and picnicking.

"We now ask for the public's patience as our contractor works to safely remove the vehicle from the reservoir and so that all involved parties can thoroughly investigate and make any changes necessary to ensure another accident like this does not occur again," Lochhead said in a statement.

Officials with Kiewit said Liu was working the 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. night shift, which includes hauling operations, at the time of the incident.

"We are devastated by this news and are focused on supporting those who worked with him on the project, as well as his family, friends and those who knew him well," Kiewit officials said in a statement. "We are working closely with Denver Water and other local and state authorities to investigate the incident and determine exactly what happened. Nothing is more important than the safety of our people."