The body of a 73-year-old Sun Valley woman, who had been missing for three days, was found Monday down a steep slope off Trail Creek Road about five and a half miles northeast of the Sun Valley city limits.
It was the second time within a week that Martha Reed had driven a car off Trail Creek Road. The first time, on Tuesday, Nov. 5, she survived uninjured and was rescued by police and ambulance personnel.
Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said it is unknown when Reed drove off the road the second time, but that she rented a 2013 Buick Lacrosse on Friday and was reported missing that same day.
Blaine County Coroner Russell Mikel said the death “appears to be suicide since it was the second time she did it.”
“You can’t really call it an accident,” Mikel said.
Sun Valley Assistant Police Chief Mike Crawford said an “attempt to locate bulletin” was issued on Friday after Reed was reported missing. He said Sun Valley police with the assistance of other agencies searched the Trail Creek Road area, Galena Summit and other places where Reed might have gone.
Ramsey activated Blaine County Search and Rescue on Monday morning for a closer search of the Trail Creek area. He said a search team walked along the bottom of a ridge below Trail Creek Road and located the crashed vehicle and Reed’s body at about 1:10 p.m.
“It was fairly close to the first place she ran off,” Ramsey said. “It appears she was coming down Trail Creek Road headed back towards town. The vehicle went 115 yards down a steep hill and into a boulder field.”
The sheriff said the vehicle did not roll, but that Reed’s body was ejected from the car.
As with the first accident, Ramsey said there were no skid marks. Because of the terrain, he said there was only one spot from the road from where the vehicle could be spotted.
Ramsey said the search team, with the assistance of the Sun Valley Fire Department, retrieved Reed’s body using a Gator utility vehicle.
A longtime Wood River Valley resident, Reed was a past president and served on the board of directors of both the St. Luke’s Wood River Foundation and the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.
“The quality of life that we enjoy in this community today is due in large part to Martha’s vision and leadership,” Megan Thomas, foundation executive director, said Tuesday.
“Martha Reed left a legacy in this community,” said Jennifer Teisinger, symphony executive director. “Because of her dedication to the hospital foundation, the symphony and other organizations in this valley, we are all better off.
“Her contributions have made this valley a better place,” Teisinger said. “She was a very intelligent, talented and elegant woman. The people reading this need to know that side of her.”
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org