Colleagues start GoFundMe campaign to help injured Vail firefighter
EAGLE COUNTY — An off-duty Vail firefighter wasn’t the only person out of his car at the scene of a March 1 accident along eastbound Interstate 70 through Eagle-Vail.
Vail Fire Lt. Scott Bridges sustained facial and head injuries when he was hit by another vehicle after he left his car to provide aid to drivers of the first two vehicles involved in what became a six-vehicle accident. Bridges was still hospitalized as of Monday.
To help Bridges in his recovery, his colleagues at the Vail Fire Department have started a GoFundMe effort. As of Monday afternoon, more than $14,000 had been raised, with a goal of raising $25,000 to help cover expenses that insurance won’t.
“This is the only way we know how to help,” Vail firefighter Josh Eaton said, adding that money from the GoFundMe effort can help with household and other expenses that might start to pile up while Bridges starts his recovery.
Outpouring of Help
The GoFundMe effort is just part of what’s turning into an outpouring of help from the community.
Vail local firm Continental Earthworks has donated a $1,000 chainsaw to the effort. All who donate $100 or more will be entered into a drawing for the chainsaw. And, Eaton said, Yeti’s Grind in Vail is expected to host a fundraising event in the next week or so.
Eaton, a 10-year veteran of Vail’s fire department, said the community’s generosity is much appreciated.
“There’s a silver lining in this in seeing everybody coming together,” he said.
How the accident occurred
According to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis, here’s how Bridges was injured:
The driver of a Subaru station wagon lost control on the icy road, skidded into the guardrail and bounced back into the right-hand lane.
That resulted in a collision with a Toyota pickup. Both vehicles were then in the right-hand lane and the highway shoulder.
Bridges drove past the accident, stopped and got out of his vehicle to see if he could help.
The driver of the Toyota pickup also left his vehicle. The driver of the Subaru wagon, a 20-year-old man, stayed in his vehicle and was uninjured in the accident
At that point, the driver of an Acura coupe hit the driver’s-side door of the Toyota pickup, causing serious injuries to the pickup driver, a 45-year-old man from Edwards. That man was transported to Centura Health in Avon.
A Toyota SUV then hit the first three vehicles and overturned. That’s the vehicle that struck Bridges. The driver of the Toyota SUV was also injured and was taken to Vail Health Hospital.
A sixth vehicle, a Honda SUV driven by a 60-year-old man from Gypsum, also skidded and struck the guardrail. That driver was uninjured, but the vehicle was damaged.
The driver of the first vehicle, the Subaru wagon, was the only driver who received a ticket, for careless driving causing injuries.
Aside from Bridges, no names have been released of others involved in the accident.