Barbara Lawlor, Peak to Peak
A bear walking across Boulder Canyon into heavy traffic on Saturday afternoon led to the crash of a pickup truck and the death of a 13-year-old Rollinsville girl.
Sophia DuBose was in her father’s truck when the car in front of them stopped suddenly to avoid hitting the bear. The truck hit the car and bounced away, flipping over the embankment into Boulder Creek, which was a raging white water tunnel.
Sophia’s father and sister Eliza were able to climb out of the truck and make it to shore, but Sophia was pulled downstream by the fast moving water. As dive teams and personnel from more than a dozen agencies responded to the call for a water rescue, they set up rescue sites downstream, attempting to reach her at various points. But they were unsuccessful until about 90 minutes later, around 6 p.m., when Sophia was pulled out of the creek behind Boulder High School. She was not breathing and unconscious and later died at the hospital.
At that time on Saturday, Boulder Creek was running about four times the average cubic feet per second, due to recent warmer weather and above average snowpack in the mountains. Boulder Canyon was closed for about three hours during the rescue efforts and the truck was towed out of the creek Sunday night.
Sophia attended Shining Mountain Waldorf School in Boulder where she is remembered as an animal lover, a nature lover, a cross country runner, an artist, an actor, a writer and someone who was beyond her years in her spiritual understanding of life, said a classmate at an impromptu memorial at the school on Sunday. Sophia had one more week of school as a seventh grader. The week before the accident she and her classmates had gone on a river rafting trip in Buena Vista and her friends say she had the time of her life.
Although Sophia attended Shining Mountain, she and her twin sister Eliza made many friends in the Nederland area and were often seen at community events, their red-haired tresses bouncing in the sunlight.
On Monday night, Ross Alpert of the Deli, who usually welcomes the community in for a free soup/pasta dinner, put out a jar for donations for Sophia’s Memorial Fund. Musician Bruce Lish sat on the balcony playing “These are a few my favorite things,” on his saxophone.
Guests sat on the balcony and talked quietly, watching Boulder Creek rumble through town. Ella Schraber, 13, of Gamble Gulch, said she was a neighbor of Sophia’s, that they had met in ballet class. The girls would visit each others’ houses. “She was perky and optimistic and we always liked to dress up. She liked chocolate more than anything. When I heard it was her in the accident, all these memories came back and I know they will never fade. I don’t know why it happened. Sophia I will always be with you.”
Ella served bowls of food, as she does every Monday, to the people who showed up at the Deli, feeling like she was helping in some small way.
Wild Bear Executive Director Jill Dreves says that donations to the family may be sent through Wild Bear at Wildbear.org or a check to Post Box 3017, Nederland, CO, in memory of Sophia.
“She had a special playful connection to the natural world,” says Jill of Sophia. “We plan to have a child-centered ceremony at Mud Lake in the near future. Her father was on the board of directors, part of the whole Mud Lake Acquisition project. Our hearts are heavy at Wild Bear and we must remind ourselves to cherish everybody.”
An outpouring of condolences hit the internet over the weekend. One parent said that driving down the canyon, seeing the spring runoff water surging down to Boulder will always remind her of Sophia.
There will be a Sophia DuBose Celebration of Life Memorial Service at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 5 at the Shining Mountain Waldorf School Festival Hall, 999 Violet Ave in Boulder.