LINCOLN COUNTY, Colo. — A busy travel weekend means increased risks for drivers. On Sunday, a potential danger was thwarted for travelers along I-70.
The Colorado State Patrol said around 9 p.m. Sunday, a driver was traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-70, three miles east of Arriba. The driver appeared to be suffering from a medical emergency, according troopers.
Lincoln County Deputy Michael "Mike" Hutton positioned his patrol cruiser in the path of the wrong-way driver.
"We got multiple 911s about it," Hutton said. "Before I knew it, I saw the headlights coming at me and a line of cars behind me at mile marker 385. And within seconds, you know, I had to make the decision to place my vehicle at a little bit of an angle and just take that hit myself."
He said the wrong-way driver was traveling at about 75 miles per hour.
"The oath that I swore and the duty I have to protect others and put their lives before mine just took over," Hutton said. "I did what I thought was right in the moment to mitigate any serious injury or death to anybody else."
The front bumpers of each car took a beating, but thankfully, Hutton and the other driver only suffered minor injuries.
"[I was] absolutely scared. I thought about my family, of course, and I do have a baby on the way here in about a month and a half," the trooper said.
Sunday's close call isn't the only terrifying moment for Hutton in the past year. He was shot three times while responding to a theft in progress in May 2021.
"My lung power is still a little iffy sometimes, and my thumb and my left wrist stuff is still kind of hit and miss, but I'm doing good. Honestly, I can't complain," Hutton said. "To protect people that are innocent from serious injury or death is an absolute priority of mine."
The trooper is expected to return to work on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for the Colorado State Patrol said as of now, the wrong-way driver has not been cited.