Man Plunges To Death Setting Off Fireworks

Sheriff: Victim Stepped Backward, Fell

A Ouray man who stepped back to avoid exploding fireworks plunged 100 feet off a cliff to his death.

According to Ouray County Sheriff Dominic Mattivi, 22-year-old James Peter Morss was with friends shooting fireworks along County Road 361 south of town, just before 3 a.m. Monday.

The shelf road hugs a cliff above Canyon Creek.

"There is a cliff on one side of the road and the canyon on the other," Mattivi told 7NEWS.

An investigation revealed that Morss was with friends setting off fireworks on the dirt road in an area known as the "Drinking Cup" when Morss stepped back and fell approximately 100 feet to a rock ledge below.

Several friends, including an emergency medical technician, hiked down to Morss but found him dead, Mattivi said.

The Ouray County Mountain Rescue Team retrieved the body about three hours later.

Morss was from Ouray and his parents live near Rigeway. He is a former student of Mesa State in Grand Junction.

The area is named "Drinking Cup" because of a natural flow of water that comes out of the cliff.

Mattivi said there have been several accidents in the same area.

"A motorcycle went off there two weeks ago," he said. The motorcyclist survived.

Click for a photo of the road at Drinking Cup.