Firefighter injured while trying to help I-70 car crash victims
EAGLE-VAIL —An off-duty Vail Fire Department lieutenant suffered serious injuries when he was struck after he apparently climbed out of his car to lend a hand during Friday morning’s traffic accidents along eastbound Interstate 70.
The Vail firefighter’s name would not be released until family had been notified, Vail Fire Chief Mark Novak said.
“He’s stable, but has been admitted to the hospital,” Novak said.
The firefighter was on his way to work at around 6:15 a.m. when he came upon the accidents in the Eagle-Vail area. It appears he he was struck by another vehicle when he stopped to help, Novak said.
The firefighter suffered facial and head injuries, and was transported to Vail Health where he is listed in stable condition, Novak said.
In addition to the off-duty firefighter, three other people were transported to the hospital.
The incident proved the importance of slowing down during winter driving conditions.
“Too often we see accidents occur because motorists do not slow down during inclement weather,” Novak said. “We are thankful our firefighter was not more seriously injured. We want to recognize his selfless actions in helping others.”
Separate Friday morning accidents in the Eagle-Vail area of I-70 involved multiple vehicles as roads turned icy and snowpacked, said Trooper Tim Schaefer, public information officer with the Colorado State Patrol.
“We’re asking people to be cautious,” Schaefer said.
Eastbound I-70 was closed and traffic was diverted to Highway 6 as motorists made their way around the accidents, Schaefer said.
Agencies responding to the accidents included the Eagle River Fire Protection District, Vail Fire and Emergency Services, Eagle County Paramedic Services, Colorado State Patrol and Vail Public Safety Communication Center.
The incident remains under investigation.