Injured Colorado State Patrol trooper treated, released after fatal I-70 crash |

Injured Colorado State Patrol trooper treated, released after fatal I-70 crash

A Colorado State Patrol trooper who was injured in an Interstate 70 wreck near Silt Wednesday night has been treated for minor injuries and released.

The trooper had stopped a vehicle on westbound I-70 near mile marker 93, and another vehicle crashed into it at about 5:30 p.m., killing the driver of the stopped vehicle and injuring the trooper. The crash also caused an extended closure of westbound I-70 Wednesday evening.

The trooper was transported with minor injuries to Grand River Hospital in Rifle.

CSP has still not released the trooper’s identity, and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crash. No charges have yet been filed against the driver of the second vehicle, but Walt Stowe, spokesman for sheriff’s office, said that charges will likely be forthcoming as the investigation progresses.

CSP Sgt. Dave Everidge said that CSP’s vehicle crimes unit is supporting the sheriff’s investigation, as will the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Colorado state law requires drivers to move into the left lane when a patrol car has someone pulled over on the right shoulder. That law has actually been modified to include any emergency vehicle, tow truck or maintenance vehicle pulled over with its emergency lights flashing, said Everidge.

If the left lane is blocked, the law requires drivers slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed, he said. Failing to do so could result in a $169 reckless driving ticket and four points against a driver’s license.

In the past couple of years, two CSP troopers have been killed in roadside collisions.

The interstate through Garfield County is especially dangerous, not because it features tight mountain curves or steep inclines, but because it doesn’t. Everidge said the straightaways of I-70 in western Garfield County likely gives drivers a false sense of security and tempts them to pick up speed.

The Post Independent found in an analysis of 10 years of interstate fatalities that Garfield County had the highest number of vehicle crash deaths out of all Colorado’s western, I-70 corridor counties.

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