Driver Killed By Rebar In I-70 Accident

Troopers Say Sun May Have Distracted Pickup Truck Driver

Eastbound Interstate 70 was closed at the Beaver Brook exit east of Idaho Springs Wednesday morning after a driver in a pickup truck was struck in the head by metal rods sitting in a flat-bed trailer.

The truck driver may have been blinded by the morning sun when he rear-ended a tractor-trailer loaded with metal rebar rods, the Colorado State Patrol said. The rods extended approximately 6 feet beyond the trailer and went through the windshield of the pickup truck, hitting the driver in the head.

The driver of the 1968 Ford pickup truck was a 54-year-old Empire man whose identity is not being released until his family can be notified.

The driver of the 1990 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was identified as Cleo Vaquez, 41, of Perris, Calif. He told troopers that he saw several other vehicles nearly hitting his truck before the crash. Vaquez's truck was traveling in the far right lane.

The accident occurred at about 7:15 a.m., when the sun, rising in the east, may have blinded the pickup driver, whose speed was estimated to be 60 and 70 mph upon impact, the CSP said.

Eastbound traffic was diverted for two hours while investigators were at the scene.

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