ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - Investigators at the Colorado State Patrol say charges will likely be filed against the driver of a van that struck and injured Trooper Adeline Roybal while she was investigating another accident near Watkins Thursday night.
Sgt. Mike Baker says Roybal was parked on the left shoulder of westbound I-70 when the van drifted or slid onto the shoulder and struck the cruiser. It then rotated and struck a second cruiser.
He said both troopers had emergency lights activated and flashing arrows directing all traffic to move to the right lane.
“It’s indefensible that people are crashing into our patrol cruisers when emergency lights are activated,” Baker said.
He noted that there was some ice on I-70 at that location, and said the van operator may have been driving too fast for conditions. He added that the driver should not have been in the left lane to begin with.
State law mandates that drivers move over to the next lane when they see flashing emergency lights.
Baker says it’s unconscionable that many drivers aren’t doing that.
“If they're just ignorant of the law, their ignorance is hurting our troopers and killing police officers across the nation. And there's no way to defend this anymore.”
Trooper Roybal was wearing a seatbelt but suffered serious injuries and was taken by ambulance to Aurora South for treatment.
The driver of the van, Lewis as Ricardo Guzman, 40, of Denver suffered serious injuries in the accident. Investigators say neither he, nor his passenger were wearing seatbelts.
The 46-year old passenger was taken to University Hospital.
Baker says this accident is very similar to one that occurred last August on U.S. Highway 85 near Brighton. A trooper was injured and a tow truck driver was killed when an inattentive motorist slammed into a cruiser parked in the left lane with emergency lights flashing.
The cruiser spun off the highway.
The driver then hit the tow truck operator who was sweeping debris from a previous accident off the highway.
“The driver in that accident, Dana Beales, was charged with vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment and assault.