Oil truck driver who crashed in Silverthorne charged with reckless driving, endangerment
Local leaders discussed the aftermath of the semitractor-trailer’s crash, which used a lot of town resources
Last week, workers from various Summit County entities worked for hours to clean up oil that spilled after a semi truck lost control on an off ramp in Silverthorne, and the driver is now facing charges of reckless endangerment and reckless driving, according to Silverthorne Police Chief John Minor.
The driver, identified as 44-year-old Antonio Ramos Lopez Jr. of Wyoming, reportedly lost control of the trailer’s brakes while descending from Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels. A sign just before Exit 205 asks truck drivers who have lost their brakes to remain on the interstate. No other vehicles were involved, but Lopez was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Silverthorne leaders briefly discussed their concerns after the crash at its Town Council work session. Council member Amy Manka said several community members had reached out wanting to know how to get involved in advocating for road safety in Silverthorne, and Hyland said that besides getting involved with specific projects that are happening, it can be difficult. However, he said groups like the I-70 Coalition can do a lot when it comes to advocating for safety measures.
“There’s not just one fix,” Hyland said. “There’s working with (the trucking) industry. There’s signage. There’s the punitive aspect — making sure that folks understand that there isn’t anything punitive if you go up one of those ramps, but there will be something punitive if you take the chief’s and the community’s entire day and make it a nightmare for public works, police and sheriff’s offices and CDOT.”
On the same day as the crash, Summit County Commissioners discussed hazmat vehicles traveling through the county with leaders from CDOT. Though last week’s incident did not involve a hazmat substance, leaders are still concerned about hazmat trucks coming down from the tunnel. Currently, hazmat vehicles are required to use U.S. Highway 6 and take Loveland Pass when it is open, but when the pass is closed, hazmat materials are allowed to travel through the tunnels hourly, a process that typically includes a 15-20 minute closure.
Seven months ago, a trailer carrying 12-packs of beer overturned in Silverthorne after losing its brakes while descending I-70 from the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels. That driver lost control of the vehicle on I-70 and clipped a Jeep, then careened down the Silverthorne exit and over the median on Blue River Parkway, where it turned onto its side.
“We thought, ‘Wow, (the beer truck crash) is just such an isolated incident, right?’” Minor told the Town Council on Wednesday. “This is probably never going to happen again. And then, seven months later, six months later, here we are.”
Minor said that the police department, as well as public works, will be billing the company responsible for the oil truck for the hours and manpower it took to deal with last week’s truck crash. As of Monday, May 16, the exact cost of what would be billed was still being calculated, Minor said in an email. Those charges will only be what was incurred by the town and not other entities.
“My folks, as well as (Minor’s) folks, weren’t doing their job,” public works director Tom Daughtery said. “I’m not going to call it a wasted day. I’m going to call it a day that we were not able to do our regular jobs. All those duties still have to be done.”
Hyland and Minor said at the work session that billing the company is not just about the money. It is about sending the message that someone should be responsible for the damage, and that responsibility should not be on the town of Silverthorne.
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