I-70 crash nearly disintegrates truck
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY ” A semi-truck traveling on I-70 late Thursday night crashed with such force that the truck nearly disintegrated and sent wreckage flying over a half-mile radius of the accident.
“This is one of the worst accidents involving vehicular damage I have witnessed in over 27 years of response to Interstate accidents,” Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Jeff Berino said.
The accident occurred at about 11:20 p.m. on Thursday at milemarker 208 in the westbound lanes of the interstate. The driver was in such serious condition that he couldn’t give a statement, but Berino say one witness stated that it appeared that the driver missed the lower runaway truck ramp before crashing.
The roads were dry at the time of the accident, he said.
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Debris was scattered all over the westbound lanes and was even propelled over the median into the eastbound lanes of I-70.
No other vehicles were involved in the accident.
Berino did not know the name of the driver, or trucking company, but said the trailer displayed a Texas license plate.
The driver managed to crawl out of the barely-there remains of the cab, according to a bystander, and was immediately treated for burns involving much of his upper body, Berino said.
He was taken to Summit Medical Center, then later airlifted to University Burn Center in Denver.
The tractor-trailer was hauling a load of large-diameter pipe at the time of the accident. When it crashed, the diesel fuel ignited a large fire.
“The crew said they could see the glow of the fire from the Silverthorne exit,” Berino said.
Firefighters used a foam and water mixture to douse the flames.
“We were fortunate that this occurred late at night when traffic was light or there may have been additional injuries,” Berino said. “In addition, the ensuing fire may have started a wildfire had the conditions been drier.”
Two police vehicles were damaged while responding to the accident and had to be towed from the scene. One car hit the truck’s alternator, which had flown into the eastbound lanes of traffic, and a second vehicle suffered punctures to two of its tires, presumably from the debris.
The westbound lanes of the interstate were closed for much of the night while the accident scene was investigated and cleaned up.
Numerous emergency responders helped on the scene including Colorado State Patrol, Silverthorne Police Department, Dillon Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Summit County Ambulance Service and Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.
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