$10,000-$50,000 price tag to replace each Colorado State Trooper vehicle hit by another driver

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - Taxpayers are paying a hefty bill each time a driver crashes into a Colorado State Patrol trooper.

So far in 2014, troopers have been hit by other drivers 22 times. In all of 2013, there were 19 accidents.

"It can cost anywhere from $10,000, all the way up to $50,000 if one of those cars is totaled," said Colorado State Patrol Lt. Col. Brenda Leffler. "That includes the lights, the radar system (and) the in-car video camera."

According to Leffler, a fully-outfitted police cruiser costs $50,000.

"It takes us seven days, all the way up to two months, to move equipment from one vehicle to another," said Leffler. "It's not like just going to your normal body shop and getting a couple of dents banged out."

The most recent crash occurred on May 12 on Interstate 70 near Silver Plume in the mountains. Trooper Nick Carnival pulled onto the shoulder of I-70 to help another driver who had slide off the highway in snowy conditions.

"I was there for half-an-hour to 45 minutes; I don't know the number of cars that passed me, but when you're talking at least 50 cars a minute, you know thousands of cars had passed me without anything bad happening. Unfortunately, we got to the point where something bad did happen," said Carnival. "I placed my head against the head rest, pulled my arms off the steering wheel and relaxed my legs off the pedals and just kind of braced for impact."

His vehicle was slammed in the back left corner by another vehicle sliding off the road.

"I'm stiff. I'm sore, but there's no permanent or long lasting injuries, hopefully," said Carnival. "I got medically cleared, today, by the doctor to come back to work."

Carnival's vehicle was likely totaled. The only was it would be approved to be back on the road is if it could handle the exact same impact again.

"We're not going risk a trooper's life or a motorist's life by putting a trooper back in this vehicle," said Leffler. "This is a $50,000 vehicle down the drain."

Colorado State Patrol is in the middle of aggressive social media #MoveOver campaign. On the CSP Facebook and Twitter accounts are multiple photos of troopers, families and children holding signs with the hashtag "Move Over."

The "move over" law has been in effect since 2005. It requires drivers to move over one lane when they see an emergency vehicle or assistance vehicle, such as a tow truck.

The fine is $169.50 with surcharges and four points on your driver's license.

Sometimes when one trooper is on the side of the road assisting a motorist, another trooper will monitor and ticket driver's not moving over. If a trooper is just completing their investigation, they may also go after a driver who fails to get over when they drive by.

"I hope that me being hit is the last patrol car hit because we've educated enough people to get them over," said Carnival. "That would be great, if I could be the last trooper that's been hit."

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