A man who died Saturday after driving his Jeep off a cliff near Mount Rainier National Park has been identified as Patrick Stalder.
Investigators are trying to figure out what caused Stalder, 46, of Graham, to lose control while driving in the Evans Creek Off-Road Vehicle Park. The off-road park is located near the Mowich Lake Road entrance to Mount Rainier.
The Jeep fell about 1,000 feet. A female passenger was thrown from the vehicle 400 feet before the Jeep stopped.
It took rescue crews several hours to reach her. By the time they did, several bystanders had covered her with blankets and coats to keep her warm.
Paramedics splintered her leg and placed her in a metal basket, then rescue crews carried her 250 feet up the hill. She was then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, seven hours after the crash. The woman is listed in critical condition.
“We’re all just shaking our heads,” Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said. “This is something that nobody should have lived through.”
Stalder’s body was recovered Sunday.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653