Mancos woman killed in motorcycle crash

Victim, 22, loses control, crashes

A 22-year-old Mancos woman was killed Wednesday morning in a motorcycle crash west of Hesperus.

Brianna Lynn Schmittel was driving to work when she became distracted and drifted into the guardrail two miles west of Hesperus on U.S. Highway 160, near Montoya Ranch, said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jonathan Silver. She was eastbound when she lost control of the motorcycle and was ejected, he said.

According to a Colorado State Patrol incident report, Schmittel was attempting to drink coffee while operating her Harley-Davidson 883 Sportster. The incident report was based on an eye-witness report and evidence at the scene, Silver said.

Schmittel planned to become a lawyer and had a semester left in her pre-law program, said her older sister, Kendra Gapp, who lives in Cortez.

"Brianna was a very bright, intelligent, beautiful young lady," her sister said. "She was a free spirit. She loved being on her motorcycle. I don't think she would have wanted to go any other way.

"I would request that everybody give my family privacy and give us the time that we need to cope," she said.

Schmittel was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:08 a.m., according to the report.

No other vehicles were involved.

The accident occurred at 8:12 a.m. near mile marker 69.

The road was closed shortly before 8:25 a.m. and reopened shortly after 10 a.m. following cleanup and the crash investigation.

Schmittel's next of kin was notified of the crash at 12:10 p.m.