Opinion | Stop killing people who save our lives | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Stop killing people who save our lives

Editorial board
The Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado mourns another state trooper needlessly struck and killed while doing his job. The tragedy marks another sad day history should never forget.

Trooper William Moden, 37, was assisting victims of a crash on I-70 east of Denver on Friday night. A driver failed to move over, hitting Moden as he worked. A fellow trooper rendered aid. Rescuers flew Moden to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical campus, where he died.

Moden was the fourth on-duty trooper struck and killed in less than four years:

• A drunken driver failed to move over, striking and killing trooper Jaimie Jursevics as she investigated a minor crash on I-25 near Tomah Road south of Castle Rock on Nov. 15, 2015. Age 33, she left behind a husband and their 8-month-old daughter.

• A commercial truck driver who failed to move over hit 34-year-old trooper Cody James Donahue on November 25, 2016, as he investigated a minor crash on northbound I-25 at Tomah Road near Castle Rock. Survivors include his wife and two young children.

• A driver traveling too fast for conditions failed to move over, striking and killing Cpl. Daniel Groves, 47, as he assisted the driver of a stranded vehicle that slid off I-76 near Denver March 13.

Two days before Friday’s killing of Moden, The Gazette editorial board met with Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard and raised our concern about troopers getting hit on increasingly congested highways.

“We need your help,” Packard said, asking us to encourage drivers to be alert, focused and courteous to anyone on the side of the road.

“Saving lives is what we do … that’s what this organization is about,” Packard said.

To save a life. That is why Moden was in harm’s way Friday, after finding a woman and a child ejected from a car. Moden deserved extraordinary courtesy and caution from people passing the scene, easily identified by emergency lights.

“Whenever you’re driving a car, lives are at stake,” Packard said last week. “A light car is 3,000 pounds. It’s not hard to imagine the damage 3,000 pounds can do at 60 mph.”

Packard could not have known Moden would die a short time later, as he emphasized how many troopers we lose to drivers who do not move over.

He recited troopers by name from memory, going back to 1977, who lost their lives much the same way Moden was killed.

“Give them a little bit of room because it’s safe, and now it’s the law, but do it because it’s the right thing to do — it’s courtesy,” Packard said.

We never met trooper Moden. He used his Facebook page mostly to honor officers killed in service, including fellow troopers hit on the side of the road. Moden’s post from Nov. 8 exudes love and respect for others. Moden posted a tribute to his father-in-law, 10 years after the man died.

“You were a source of strength, love, and discipline,” Moden wrote to his wife’s deceased dad.

“You welcomed me into your family, and allowed me to take one of your beautiful daughters as my wife. You believed in me, you trusted me, and most of all, you loved me as if I were your own flesh and blood. I miss you dad! I know you’re watching over us from Heaven, and I hope I’ve made you proud! I know I’ll see you again.”

We pray they are united this Father’s Day, two days after Moden’s premature death.

Colorado drivers can and should eliminate these needless tragedies. Pay attention and move over. Stop killing the men and women who devote their lives to saving ours.

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