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Former El Paso County Commissioner Miguel Solis Dies

POSTED: Monday, July 6, 2009 - 8:08am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm

EL PASO-- Former El Paso County Commissioner Miguel Solis died Sunday morning in a head-on collision near Grand Junction, Colo.

Solis' wife is former KTSM anchor/reporter Felipa Solis. Felipa's mother tells us she was undergoing surgery after suffering injuries in the accident. She tells us the two were in Colorado for the holiday weekend.

Late Sunday evening, NewsChannel 9 received a news release from Colorado State Patrol.
A 1983 RV was driving westbound on U.S. 50 in Gunnison, Colo. entering a right-hand curve when the vehicle crossed the center line.

Colorado State Patrol officers say Ray Stout, the driver of the RV, swerved back to the right, side-swiping an eastbound Lincoln Town Car causing it to side-swipe a Toyota Camry.

Both the Town Car and Camry then went off the right side of the road. The occupants of both vehicles were uninjured.

The RV then struck the Solis' car, a 2009 Nissan Altima heading eastbound on U.S. 50, head on and rolled on to its side.

Stout, 79, of Montrose, Colo. and Solis, 68, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Felipa Solis was airlifted to St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction with serious injuries.

A fifth vehicle, a Lexus, was struck by debris from the crash. Its driver was uninjured.

The crash caused the closure of U.S. 50 for several hours and remains under investigation.

Besides serving on the El Paso County Commissioner's Court from 1978-1986, Miguel Solis also served as an attorney and as a pharmacist in El Paso.

The news came as a shock to many of Solis' political colleagues and friends.
NewsChannel 9 spoke to former state represenative Paul Moreno, a long-time political friend of Solis.

"You know I helped him when he ran for office and he helped me, so it was a very good relationship," said Moreno.

But Moreno says, they knew each other even before politics came into play.

"I organized a team, a basketball team, and it was a neighborhood team, and he was one of my players. And I was the coach," said Moreno.

Moreno, who heard of Solis' death from NewsChannel 9, said he was shocked, and says Solis' greatest work was while he was a county commissioner.

"I think what he did for the County of El Paso was great," he said.

NewsChannel 9 also broke the news to Charlie Hooten, who once sat with Solis on the Commissioner's Court.

"It just breaks my heart because we did become good friends," he said.

Hooten served with Solis on the court for six years.

"When I was first elected in 1980, Miguel Solis was already on the court and we started out being political adversaries but through finding common ground and working on projects, we became good friends," he said.

Hooten says, together, he and Solis helped bring the Downtown Jail into existence and began a tree farm at Ascarate Park.

"Miguel was a very smart man. He grew up in an area and went to Jefferson High. I call him a disadvantaged youth. And he excelled, he went on to law school did well. And I respected his abilities," he said.

Felipa Solis, a former anchor/reporter for NewsChannel 9, is recovering at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. Nurses told NewsChannel 9 she was in good condition.

Miguel Solis is survived by his wife, Felipa, and son Gabriel, 18.

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