State trooper injured in storm-related accident
VAIL — The hits just keep on coming for law enforcement and emergency personnel trying to spread calm amid the storms.
A Colorado state trooper was injured when his car was sandwiched between a tractor-trailer and a dump truck during Monday’s first big storm of the season.
Trooper Christopher O’Brian is recovering at home with minor injuries, said Trooper Nate Reid, public information officer with the Colorado State Patrol.
A dump truck driver lost control on the icy Interstate 70 surface and hit a wall, the State Patrol said. O’Brian had turned on his lights and pulled over to slow traffic Monday afternoon.
However, a tractor-trailer rig could not stop on the slick road and crashed into O’Brian’s patrol vehicle from behind. That slammed O’Brian’s car into the back of the dump truck and sent him smashing in between two semi trucks.
The State Patrol said the accident might have been avoided if the drivers would have slowed down in the snowy weather.
“People need to slow down and give each other plenty of room,” Reid said.
A couple other Colorado State Patrol vehicles got tangled up on Beard Creek Road near the Edwards Medical Center during Wednesday’s storms. The collision appeared to be minor, and no information was available at press time.
Damage to a fire truck last December was not minor, and the truck still is not repaired.
The truck, a 40,000 pound Pierce Dash, was parked during a winter storm so it would protect firefighters working an I-70 accident.
That’s exactly what happened.
The delivery truck that hit it had already bounced off the I-70 center divider, but it was still going so fast that when it hit the 40,000-pound fire truck that it moved 8 feet.
“We still don’t have that truck back,” said Tracy LeClair, public information officer with the Eagle River Fire Protection District.
It was a Thursday morning last December and the valley was digging out of the massive storm that dumped much-anticipated snow.
A one-car traffic accident in the eastbound lane of I-70 between Edwards and Wolcott had sent firefighters from the Eagle River Fire Protection District and the Eagle County Paramedic Service rushing to the scene.
As firefighters and paramedics were working the accident, a box truck approached the scene in the fast lane and hit the fire truck from behind.
Crews had arrived and set up the fire engine to protect the scene. In this case, it did just that.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that it knocked Engine 12 out of service for a year — so far.
As long as there are car accidents, fire fighters will continue to set up in a manner to protect residents and first responders, LeClair said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.