SALT LAKE CITY, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A Kansas man trapped in his van after crashing on a lonely stretch of Utah highway wrote his family love notes before he died, police said.
David Welch of Manhattan mysteriously abandoned his family without explanation Sept. 2, driving away in their Pontiac van without saying where he was going or when he would return. His wife Kelly called police and filed a missing person report but nothing turned up, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.
Fast-forward to the morning of Oct. 18, when a hitchhiker on a remote portion of Interstate 70 in Utah, about 47 miles outside of Green River -- and about 700 miles from Welch's home -- was walking down the road when he noticed a Pontiac van deep in a ravine off to the side.
Police said Welch had been driving and reached a curve in the road. They suspect he was asleep at the wheel and careened off the road, going about 50 yards before plunging 80 feet down a ravine where the vehicle came to rest with Welch stuck inside.
Police said it was evident Welch did not die immediately. Instead he passed the time by writing love notes to his family.
Utah Highway Patrol Lt. Scott Robertson said officers passed the notes on to Welch's wife but declined to elaborate on what they contained -- except to say they offered no explanation of why Welch had left and what he was doing in Utah or where he was going.
That much, Robertson said, remains a mystery.