Crashes close I-70 in both directions Wednesday morning |

Crashes close I-70 in both directions Wednesday morning

A Silverthorne Police Department vehicle was rear-ended Wednesday while providing traffic control for a crash on the opposite side of the interstate. No one was in the police vehicle at the time of the crash.
Photo from Silverthorne Police Department

Interstate 70 closed in both directions in Summit County following a pair of crashes Wednesday morning, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

At about 11:23 a.m., a pickup truck pulling a travel trailer crashed while heading eastbound on I-70 near Silverthorne, according to Steve Lipsher, public information officer with Summit Fire & EMS. Lipsher said the trailer turned over but the truck remained upright.

There were no injuries, but Lipsher said there was a short hazmat cleanup due to diesel fuel and motor oil spilling onto the road from the trailer.

Then at 11:48 a.m., as Summit Fire crews were leaving the scene to Colorado State Patrol, they immediately were called back to a crash in the westbound lanes. Lipsher said a Silverthorne Police Department vehicle was parked on the road with its lights flashing to alert traffic to the crash in the other direction and to slow down. Two separate cars somehow crashed into the patrol vehicle.

Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor said the police vehicle was parked partially blocking the inside lane of westbound I-70 with its lights running to help provide traffic control.

“A car stopped behind the officers car, and another car rear-ended that vehicle, pushing it into the officer’s vehicle,” Minor wrote in an email.

The police officer was not inside the car at the time of the crash, according to Lipsher. Two people from one car were transported to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco with injuries that were not life-threatening. A person from the other vehicle declined medical assistance, according to Lipsher.

“The fact that an emergency vehicle, a Silverthorne Police vehicle with flashing lights, was slammed into while trying to slow down traffic around a car crash really boils my blood,” Lipsher said. “There is absolutely no reason to drive in a way that they cannot slow down and move over for our emergency vehicles. These emergency responders — whether they are cops, our paramedics or our firefighters — are putting their lives on the line to try to go help people in crashes on the interstate.

“I think that we need to continue to remind people, as always, when they see emergency lights and vehicles to slow down and pull over. Give them plenty of room, and give yourself time to react appropriately. … There’s not an emergency worker out there who doesn’t realize the most dangerous tasks in their jobs aren’t running into burning buildings or cleaning up hazardous materials spills. It’s being on the highway that is still open to traffic.”

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