Rob Larimer: Tragic Details of Veteran Colorado Journalist's Death

Rob Larimer was a veteran journalist well-known in Denver and, especially, Colorado Springs. But in September, he died in a one-car crash -- and a just-released autopsy report reveals that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when he crashed into a tree while traveling the wrong way on a residential street at a high rate of speed. Photos, details and remembrances below.

See also: R.I.P. Kent Haruf, Colorado Author Who Captured the Plains

As noted in his obituary, Larimer grew up in Denver, graduating from Denver South High School in 1992 prior to studying journalism at Metro State. He subsequently wrote for a variety of Mile High City publications, including the Rocky Mountain News and Metro North Newspapers, before heading south. He worked as a reporter at the Colorado Springs Gazette in the early 2000s before joining the Colorado Springs Business Journal staff in 2004. He went from reporter to managing editor there over the course of the next nine years before re-upping with the Gazette in September 2013. While Larimer left the Gazette earlier this year, his Twitter account with the paper remains online at this writing. His last re-tweet on the feed, which lists him as the Gazette's city desk editor, went out in April.

Then, in September, Larimer's name appeared in stories by a number of news purveyors, but as the subject of articles, not the person writing or editing them.

Late on September 24, KKTV revealed that Larimer had been "driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of West Colorado Avenue when he lost control of his SUV. The vehicle hit a curb, then a tree."

A just-released autopsy report shared by the Gazette fills in the gaps of this account in a terribly sad way.

The El Paso County Coroner's Office reveals that he had alcohol, cocaine and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death. Moreover, he had been traveling 70 miles per hour in a 25 MPH zone and slammed directly into the tree without either swerving to avoid it or braking to try and slow down. He was not using a seat belt at the time.

Fortunately, Larimer left some wonderful memories for his wife, Michelle Beckman, and his twin daughters. Here's an excerpt from his obituary:
Rob's greatest passions were his children and music. He was the best dad ever, and every outing was a grand adventure full of possibility. His children loved the fun he crafted in everything they did. Music fed his soul and shaped community with those he touched. He was lead guitarist in Slightly Bent until 2013, and he started a homegrown monthly music jam called the Sunday Ramble which he and his wife usually hosted in their home.
Some of the musicians who played at the Rambles performed at Larimer's memorial service. The intro to the YouTube post for the clip below reads: "Wagon Wheel performed by the Sunday Ramblers at the memorial service of Rob Larimer (1973-2014), founder of the "Sunday Ramble" and who taught us all to RAMBLE ON!!!"

Our condolences to Larimer's friends, family and loved ones.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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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