By Rebecca Martinez
Carbon County – Engineers say a large section of Wyoming highway where four Colorado family members plunged to their deaths might have totally collapsed in a matter of minutes.
It had been raining for hours Monday night when local authorities warned the Constantinides family, among others, about potential flood conditions near North Brush Creek Campground around midnight.
Not long afterward, the family's van drove into a washed-out portion of Wyoming highway 130 and was swept about 75 yards down Brush Creek. Laurel Constantindies and her three daughters died.
The husband and father, Alex Constantindies, who had grown up in Laramie, survived and escape the vehicle. He and a passerby later rescued Carbon County Emergency management Coordinator John Ziegler, whose car washed out while he was trying to assist in flood protection efforts.
Ziegler said he was "very fortunate" to have survived.
Bruce Burrows of the Wyoming Transportation Department says engineers are studying what happened to the roadway early Tuesday morning. He says preliminary assessments indicate the creek swollen with rain and snowmelt may have undermined the roadway over some hours and then gouged a 25-foot-wide, 9-foot-deep hole in a matter of minutes.
(The Associated Press contributed this this report.)