Troopers: If You Crash, Staying in the Car Could Save Your Life

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

The Colorado State Patrol says the area where Tuesday night's deadly crash happened on I–70 is a tight curve near Palisade that can be a dangerous stretch.

Troopers say it wasn't the crash that was deadly but what happened after--just one of many where someone has been killed because they got out of the car and onto a busy roadway.

Hundreds of people drive on I-70 near Palisade everyday and may never think about getting in a crash but Trooper Ron Greasley says at highway speeds, it only takes a second to loose control.

"You're traveling at 65 miles per hour. You're looking at 80 feet per second, so it comes up on your really fast," Greasley told 11 News on Wednesday.

A driver lost control Tuesday night and his passenger survived the crash, but didn't make it out alive.

"The adrenaline is pumping, they want to see what damage has happened to the vehicle and they don't think about the ramifications of getting out in the middle of the interstate."

Greasley says the victim in this crash was hit by a passing car and killed. The veteran trooper says staying in the truck could have saved his life.

"Every circumstance is different but kind of a rule of thumb would be to wait in the vehicle for us."

First responders have seen it before. A year ago, 28–year–old Christina Sterling–Soffel crossed I–70 to try to help someone else in a car accident when she was hit and killed.

Palisade Fire Chief Richard Rupp responded then and last night and says seeing these accidents never gets easier.

"We never like to see that," Rupp told 11 News on Wednesday.

Rupp has been a firefighter for 26 years and although he lives to save lives, he wishes drivers would pay more attention.

"Prevention is what will save you out there," said Rupp.

Although the state patrol is still trying to figure out what caused Tuesday night's crash, troopers say speed is a factor 82% of the time.

"Debeque canyon specifically. Just slow down, it's not that long you want to get through it safely," said Greasley.

And he's hoping that this crash will make drivers think twice while they're on the road.

The Colorado State Patrol says the driver of the car who hit Holguin–Cervantes may face charges.

After troopers finish their report they'll turn the case over to the district attorney's office.

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