WELD COUNTY, Colo. - The Colorado State Patrol has arrested a driver in a crash that killed a tow truck driver and injured a state trooper in August.
Dana Beales, 61, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, careless driving caused injury and reckless driving.
The crash happened in broad daylight on U.S. 85 at Weld County Road 6, between Brighton and Fort Lupton.
According to the State Patrol, the tow truck driver was in the left southbound lane of the highway, sweeping up debris from a previous crash and the trooper’s cruiser was directly behind the tow truck in the left lane, displaying flashing merge arrows, when they were hit by a F-250 driven by Beales.
"The southbound F-250 collided with the rear of the trooper’s vehicle, knocked it off the side of the road and collided with the tow operator," said State Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mike Baker.
"Troopers allege that despite clear visibility and active emergency lighting from the tow truck and patrol vehicle, Beales approached a crash scene while traveling approximately 86 miles-per-hour in a posted 65-miles-per-hour zone," investigators said in a news release. "Additionally, Troopers allege that Beales was distracted by multiple in-vehicle stimuli immediately prior to the crash."
A passerby told 7NEWS that he helped pull the tow truck operator out from underneath the pickup.
"He died a short time later," the passerby said.
That tow truck driver, Martin Braden of Aurora, was a long-time employee at C & J Auto Service in Fort Lupton.
"Martin was a good man," said Dave Busha. "He worked for C & J towing for 10 years. He loved his job."
The trooper, Scott Rendfrey, was airlifted from the scene and taken to Denver Health Medical Center. He was released a few hours later.