DENVER — After two crashes into emergency vehicles in the Denver area in just the last week, Colorado State Patrol and the Colorado Department of Transportation are pleading with drivers to slow down and move over from crash responses to keep law enforcement and workers safe.
Denver7 spoke to Trooper Cameron Gill, whose cruiser was hit early in the morning on Wednesday, Jan. 18 as he was investigating a single vehicle crash.
“I stepped outside of my vehicle to go talk with a sergeant that actually came up on scene, just to let him know kind of what’s going on. He was at the driver’s side door of the CDOT truck when I heard skids. And then ultimately, the vehicle that was trying to pass from the number three lane — which is the far right lane — into that number two lane, was trying to pass, and ultimately lost control and struck the rear of my vehicle,” Gill said. “I’m glad I trusted my sixth sense, just that little voice in my head, to just get out and talk with him for a minute. Because if I didn’t, then I would have been in that car, probably twisted typing on a computer, and then I might have gotten injured or who knows what would have happened.”
Gill was lucky to not be seriously hurt, but he has become part of a trend in the wrong direction, according to CSP and CDOT. Bob Pfeiffer, deputy director of operations for CDOT, said there was a 133% increase in safety patrol vehicles being struck from 2021 to 2022, and a 50% increase in safety patrol employees being hit. Last year, 36 law enforcement officers were killed in the United States either in vehicle crashes or being struck by a vehicle, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The potential dangers of the job were well known to Gill before he had even put on the badge himself. His father was a trooper for the Colorado State Patrol, as well.
Given that, it’s not entirely surprising to learn that just hours after the crash, he had packed up a spare cruiser and was out on patrol again.
“Injury crashes and crime don’t sleep,” Gill explained.
Still, he hopes by sharing his close encounter, drivers will decide to slow down, put down their phones and keep their eyes on the road.
“It still fathoms me that we still have to have this conversation of such an easy and avoidable incident,” Gill said. “If you see one of us, it’s the law to move over. Simple as that.”
Colorado law requires drives move over lanes to accommodate not just law enforcement and first responder vehicles on the road, but for highway maintenance vehicles, construction vehicles, and utility trucks, as well. Failure to do so can result in a $300 fine and up to 90 days in jail.