No explosives found in vehicle that closed I-70 in Silverthorne

Colorado state troopers and the Jefferson County Sheriff bomb squad investigate a vehicle on I-70 on Saturday. The interstate was closed for about an hour while authorities followed up on a report of explosives in a vehicle.
Colorado State Patrol photo / Special to the Daily.

A report of possible explosives in a vehicle closed Interstate 70 between the Eisenhower Tunnel and the town of Silverthorne on Saturday afternoon.

The Jefferson County bomb squad responded, but it was Summit County’s Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team — otherwise known as the SMART team — which would ultimately provide the specialized knowledge needed for the incident.

Trooper Jacob Best with the Colorado State Patrol said the initial report of explosives proved to be untrue, and was suspected to have occurred as a result of a driver suffering from a severe anxiety disorder or dementia.

“The first safety patrol got on scene because they saw a vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, and the driver was outside of the vehicle, so our courtesy patrol/safety patrol came to check on him,” Best said. “As they were trying to figure out what was going on, that’s when this male party indicated that he was informed by a female party that there was an explosive or incendiary device inside of his vehicle.”

Best said the statement was assumed to be legitimate in the moment, as “he was well convinced, and provided a lot of detailed information initially, so out of an abundance of caution, we treated it as such,” and shut down the interstate.

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The Jefferson County bomb squad inspected the vehicle and found no evidence of explosives.

Best said the Summit County’s Systemwide Mental Assessment Response Team responded quickly.

“Our troopers are well informed that, in Summit County, if there’s an issue that they suspect may be a mental health issue, they are to request the Summit County SMART Team members,” Best said. “They’re usually on duty, or on call, and they respond right away.”

The interstate was closed for about 2.5 hours.

—This story was edited to correct the amount of time the interstate was listed as closed

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