DENVER – Colorado State Patrol Corporal Daniel Groves was remembered Friday as “one of our very best” by the chief of the State Patrol, who spoke at length about Groves’ commitment to his job and to the people of Colorado – whom he was helping when he was hit and killed by a driver during Wednesday’s blizzard.
“The common thing that I hear about Dan Groves is he … absolutely loved being a Colorado State Trooper,” CSP Chief Colonel Matthew Packard said at a news conference Friday. “He died doing what he loved. And I’m willing to bet he knew the risk of being out of his car that day. He knew what was at stake when he went out to I-76 Wednesday morning … he was out there to save lives.”
Groves, 52, died after he was hit by a car Wednesday morning while he was responding to a vehicle that slid off the road on I-76 near Roggen. The driver of the Volvo, 58-year-old John Carpenter, of Centennial, may face charges related to driving too fast for conditions, CSP said.
Groves was nearing his 12th year as a CSP trooper. He began his career with the agency in Frisco, where he was known for working tirelessly, Packard said. He then worked in the business intelligence unit for CSP in Denver, moved on to CSP headquarters and was then promoted to corporal and assigned to Weld County.
Packard said he and CSP had received countless messages, notes and pictures over the past several days in support of Groves and the agency.
“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it,” Packard said. “Dan lived every day like a hero and so do the other 1,200 members of this organization.”
Groves on Wednesday chose to head up I-76 because he knew that conditions were quickly deteriorating Wednesday morning as the historic blizzard moved in.
After checking on the driver who had gone off the road, Groves was hit on his way back to his car. Packard said that despite Groves’ fellow teammates and other troopers knowing about his dire condition, they continued to work to help others getting stuck in the blizzard.
“That’s what we do here. We are the Colorado State Patrol. We save lives,” Packard said, saying he listened to radio traffic in the area when Groves was hit.
“What I heard was troopers working with him, knowing their corporal was down, and they did not skip a beat,” Packard said. “They continue because they knew that’s what Colorado needed.”
He said that he wanted people to learn that driving requires people’s “highest level of care” and that people should take responsibility and give driving the attention it deserves in order to help care for the troopers who do the same.
“When you think about Dan Groves and the sacrifice he made, think about that. Think about his legacy of service and how that is embodied in every member of this organization,” Packard said.
Groves’ memorial service will take place in the morning hours of Thursday, March 21 at LifeBridge Church in Longmont, Packard said, though full details were still not final on Friday. There was a procession held Thursday for Groves, and several lawmakers honored him in speeches at the state Capitol.
A CSP patrol car will sit outside of the CSP Greeley office until the memorial service next Thursday where people can leave mementos.
And Packard continued to implore any witnesses to the crash or people who stopped to help – there were several, he said, who “acted heroically … to try and save Dan’s life” – to call investigators at 303-239-4501.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” Packard said of the people who stopped to help Groves and who had reached out to him and the agency since the fateful Wednesday. “He was one of our very best and he will be sorely, sorely missed.”