Who’ll get water truck out of Colorado River?
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colorado ” A water supply truck remains in the Colorado River, nearly a month after being submerged in the current.
The truck went into the river on June 29 near the Una bridge off Garfield County Road 300, after its emergency brake failed as the driver was filling the truck’s storage tank.
However, there seems to be some confusion between those involved in removing the vehicle.
The truck belongs to Resort Trucking Inc., based out of Utah with an office in Parachute. Resort Trucking Inc. owner Scott Beddes said he could get the truck out on his own whenever but has been waiting for an organized plan from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
“We actually went out and set up a crane and they told us the river was too high,” Beddes said. “They told us it would be probably 60 to 90 days before we could attempt it again.”
The first attempt was thwarted when Garfield County’s Emergency Operation commander Jim Sears pulled the plug on removal efforts because of safety issues.
But Sears commented on July 24 that it was no longer an emergency operations concern and they were no longer involved with removing the truck.
“We are not involved with that anymore,” Sears said. “It’s up to the owner of the truck to remove it.”
Beddes commented Friday morning that he was still awaiting a safety plan from the sheriff’s office.
“Garfield County Sheriff’s Office was in charge of it,” Beddes said. “We want a plan that is safe, too, we are just waiting on them to come up with a plan.”
According to Garfield County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Tanny McGinnis, Beddes needed to contact the Garfield County Road and Bridge for proper permits allowing him to remove his truck. However, road and bridge claim not to be involved, either.
Dale Hancock, Garfield County’s general services director, said that he did not know if Beddes was required to attain permits to remove the truck or not.
“The last conversation we had was about two to three weeks ago when Jim Sears gave us an overview of the particulars,” Hancock said. “(Sears) would probably know better than I would.”
Hancock did say that county Road and Bridge “was not involved” and that it seemed to be one of those things where the owner may be waiting for the river to go down to a reasonable level.
But, according to Beddes, that’s not his understanding of the situation. Beddes said that he would like to get the truck out as soon as possible because his business has been crippled without the truck running for the past four weeks. He added that he could remove the truck any day, on his own, if he were allowed.
“If anyone is saying we had a choice or are not acting to get it out, that is not true,” Beddes said. “I’ve got winch trucks of my own, I could get it out today.”
The one thing all parties agreed on was concern for safely removing the truck and not putting anyone in harm’s way.
Beddes said that his initial plan that was halted was for a crane to swing a person over the river to attach a winch to the truck to save anyone having to enter the river.
“I don’t want to do anything unsafe, either,” Beddes said. “It was just hauling river water for dust control so there’s no reason to do any risky recovery. That’s my main concern.”
As far as Beddes knew Friday, he was still waiting for some sort of confirmation from local authorities as to how and when he could remove his vehicle. Beddes said he hoped to have the truck removed within two weeks.