RENO — A Nevada man who survived two below-freezing nights trapped in his crashed vehicle in the Sierra Nevada in November killed himself over the weekend, authorities said.
Edward Duncan, 65, of Gardnerville, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head Saturday in a parking lot of the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Minden, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jim Halsey said.
While the incident appears to be a suicide, the case remains under investigation, Halsey said.
Duncan, an insurance company owner, lost control of his Jeep Cherokee on U.S. 50 about five miles above Carson City on Nov. 25. The vehicle rolled about 250 feet down a steep embankment.
He was treated at a hospital for three broken ribs and a broken wrist after being found amid the wreckage 36 hours later on Thanksgiving Day by friend Ron Santi. The Jeep was surrounded by thick brush and trees.
“I’m shocked and sick to my stomach,” Santi said Sunday. “What a tragic end to what I thought was a great story.
“He mentioned how much he appreciated what I did on numerous occasions. Everyone is baffled by this, including me. He gave no indications that anything was wrong,” he added.
In November, Duncan’s wife of 44 years, Sherrie, said Duncan felt lucky to be alive after enduring the ordeal.
The overnight lows dipped to around 30 both nights. He was wearing only a light jacket.
“He said it was really, really cold out there. … He kept praying that somebody would see his vehicle,” Sherrie Duncan said at the time.
Santi said the man enjoyed a close relationship with his family, and family members are as baffled as his friends.
“In regards to the November accident, only he and his maker know if it was an attempt to take his life or not,” Santi said. “I’m sure that’s going through people’s minds.”
Authorities have said Duncan’s use of a seat belt saved his life.
Family members told deputies that Duncan had not been seen or heard from since Friday night.
Duncan was president and chief underwriter of Innovative Insurance Solutions, Inc. in Minden.
“I’m not privy to information on his business,” Santi said. “As far as I know it was a successful business.”