Ford Bronco Sport Mangled Nearly Beyond Recognition After 400-Foot Drop Down A Mountain

The driver thankfully survived, as did the car's other passengers

Wrecked Ford Bronco Sport — Black Bear Pass
This is what’s left of a Ford Bronco Sport after it rolled down Black Bear Pass in Colorado Sunday morning. (Images: San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office via Facebook)

Black Bear Pass claimed another SUV this weekend.

As remarkably good a small off-roader as the Ford Bronco Sport is, this one met its fateful end this past weekend as its driver attempted Colorado’s Black Bear Pass. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it happen — this Jeep Wrangler is another prime example — and this Bronco Sport tumbled some 400 feet down the side of the mountain.

Fortunately, the driver survived, although she suffered serious injuries according to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office. Here’s what happened, per their report:

“Deputies have learned that the women were driving up Bridal Veil Road and entered the one-way Black Bear Pass going the wrong way. The passenger told Deputies they did not see the sign indicating the beginning of the one-way pass. After a couple of switchbacks they decided it was best to turn around. The passenger then stepped of the vehicle to help the driver navigate, and while backing up, two of the wheels went high enough on the embankment to cause the vehicle to begin to roll. The 2021 Ford Bronco [Sport] rolled off the cliff an estimated 400 feet, ejecting the driver, the dog, and the vehicle’s engine before coming to a stop.”

A word of warning on Black Bear Pass (and Colorado off-roading, generally)

The report goes on to identify the driver as a 23-year-old from out of state, as well as a 1-year-old dog that was also ejected from the vehicle. Medics tended to the woman on scene, and transported her to a local hospital to further treat her injuries. San Miguel Sheriff Bill Masters wished the driver a speedy recovery, as well as some words of warning to those drivers who head over Black Bear Pass:

“Black Bear Pass is an extremely dangerous road and should only be driven by experienced off-road drivers in appropriate off-road vehicles. Legally, a 16 year-old who got his driver’s license a few hours prior, may attempt to drive the pass in his grandmother’s 1980’s sedan. That doesn’t mean it’s safe to do so.”

We’ve filmed quite a few times on Black Bear Pass, and will back up that it can be a dangerous ordeal for anyone who’s inexperienced. Of course, anyone can make a mistake like missing the one-way sign. If you do plan on heading into this area, or going off-roading somewhere else in Colorado for that matter, it’s important to know as much as you can about the trail beforehand.

Despite the severity of the accident, the Bronco Sport’s passenger area did come out of the crash mostly intact. That’s pretty remarkable, considering even the engine was thrown clear of the car during the 400-foot drop. That gives me some pause to consider just how strong modern cars are built, and this sort of crash proves the baby Bronco’s worthiness of a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.

These are the some of the most gut-wrenching accidents around, and I hope the Bronco Sport’s driver makes a full and speedy recovery.