life in crash
Express Staff Writer
Jamie Shaw and tow truck operators use a winch to remove Cicely Nicolai’s
Range Rover from Trail Creek last Wednesday. Nicolai left a suicide note
at her Sun Valley home before driving off the road two days earlier.
Express photo by Travis Purser
resident Cecily Nicolai, 61, died after the 1993 Range Rover she was
driving careened off Trail Creek Road and plummeted 385 feet down a
steep slope on Memorial Day.
deputy Gene Ramsey said Nicolai left a suicide note at her Sun Valley
home on Spur Lane. She also left behind her antidepressant medication
and bank checks, so her bills could be paid.
Ramsey said her
son Henry Nicolai found the wreckage and his mother’s body June 1
after first searching for her at Galena Pass. It is not clear whether
there was any indication that Nicolai had revealed plans to drive off a
high mountain road.
was driving west at about 50 mph when she apparently veered off the
embankment. Her Range Rover became airborne for about 100 feet and, upon
impact with the rocks below, cart-wheeled another 285 feet. Nicolai was
ejected from the vehicle before it came to rest against a tree.
Nicolai, who suffered a fractured skull, did not die from the impact.
places she had crawled," he said. "We believe she died 12
hours after the accident," from exposure.
was found about 50 feet from the shattered vehicle and recovered at
about 4 p.m. the day after the crash.
three workers for Dick York’s Auto Service and deputy Jamie Shaw spent
three hours using three pieces of heavy machinery to haul the vehicle
back up to the road and move it to an impound yard.
The Range Rover
owner’s insurance would probably pay for the work, Ramsey said.
"People still have some responsibility to remove their
Ramsey said one
vehicle goes off Trail Creek every two or three years, but usually
nobody is in it. He attributed most of the events to improperly set
emergency brakes and to intentional ditching by thieves.
It is not possible
to install guard rails on Trail Creek, he said, because avalanches would
appeared in the news in November 1999 when a gas explosion destroyed her
recently purchased home in Elkhorn. She filed a suit against
Intermountain Gas Co. in February, but settled out of court.
A source close to
the family also said that she had been suffering from cancer for many
In April 1999, she
divorced her husband Theodore Nicolai, courthouse records state.
The family held a
private funeral at the Ketchum cemetery.
obituary appears on page A28 of the printed edition of the Idaho