Douglas County to utilize plow trucks to move crashes off major roads

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. -- Traffic continues to get worse and it can be dangerous when crashes occur, yet there has been an ongoing effort to get those crashes out of traffic lanes and onto the shoulder. 

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is implementing a new plan, part of the 'quick clearance' initiative by training plow drivers to push crashed cars out of the way of traffic.

"It keeps us safer," said Sergeant Chris Washburn. "It also prevents secondary accidents."

Drivers from Douglas County Public Works Operations have been going through training at the Emergency Vehicle Operations Center near Chatfield Reservoir.

The slab of concrete used for training is named after Trooper Jaimie Jursevics and Trooper Cody Donahue. Both were killed while investigating crashes on I-25.

"It's a shame that those officers had to lose their lives," said plow driver Jeff Woods. "It could have been prevented by something like this, simply getting cars off the road."

"We can't get run over if we're not standing in the road investigating crashes," said Sgt. Washburn.

That's where the training comes in.

"There's nothing like pushing something with something bigger," said plow driver Mike Zapfe. "It's pretty easy. The truck does all the work."

Although entertaining, during an emergency, the drivers will take on the serious role of moving crashes out of the way of traffic.

"The more workers that are out on the highways that are out conducting their business on the highways that have traffic incident management training, the better," said Sgt. Washburn.

Police squad cars, tow trucks and CDOT courtesy trucks are also equipped to push crashed vehicles off the road. The operation is perfectly legal.

"They're (the vehicles) already damaged and there's no liability to us if we cause some additional damage," said Sgt. Washburn.

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