Man Dies After Crashing Car Into Lake at Clement Park Near Columbine High

The nation's television viewers know Clement Park as the stretch of greenery over which hundreds of Columbine High School students fled in the wake of the 1999 attack there. But for residents of the area (including yours truly), Clement today is a center for recreational activity in addition to reflection, with multiple playgrounds, a skate park, fields for soccer and football and a lake that offers fishing and a lovely walking/biking path.

Today, however, it's the scene of a rescue turned into a recovery operation: A man who drove his car into the lake has been confirmed dead.

See also: Columbine and the struggle for perspective ten years later

The lake is accessible from many points, including a public library that overlooks it and parking lots serving a slew of businesses: Macaroni Grill, Christy Sports, Barnes & Noble and a relatively new Walmart Neighborhood Market. There's also a retirement complex at the water's edge. Here's an interactive graphic that'll help you picture the area; if you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."

View Larger Map

Reports about a car crashing into the lake began circulating over the course of the past hour or so, and in the beginning, there was hope that the driver had survived; in fact, 7News initially reported that "a man was rescued from the lake around 4:45 a.m." But the unhappy truth was confirmed in this tweet from the Colorado State Patrol:

The "no other parties" mention above was determined after authorities, including a dive team, conducted a search of the lake and surrounding area in the vicinity of the car.

9News notes that a jogger alerted authorities to the crash at around 4:15 a.m. The car was reportedly "racing along the bike path when it lost control, rolling into the lake."

Why was the car driving on a bike path at that time of the morning? An investigation into that question and others is underway at this hour.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts