Motorist having diabetic episode hits trees, signs on Highway 82 near Old Snowmass
Upvalley traffic on Highway 82 was suspended for 20 minutes Monday so law enforcement officials could contain a man who had done donuts in a car, knocking down several small trees and at least two traffic signs before his vehicle came to a rest on a jersey barrier.
The man apparently was suffering a diabetic reaction, according to officials with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, which responded to the scene. After deputies were able to contain him, he was transferred to Aspen Valley Hospital where he was treated for minor injuries. No one else was injured, and no other vehicles were involved in the incident.
The incident was reported at approximately 12:15 p.m., and occurred near the Old Snowmass post office located off of Highway 82. When a Basalt police officer initially responded to the scene and communicate the driver, the motorist punched at his window. Instead of trying to press the matter, the officer waited for Pitkin County deputies to arrive.
Officials then shut down the upvalley lane of Highway 82, at the Snowmass Creek Road intersection, so they could contain the man, said Deputy Michael Buglione. Initially officers thought he was having psychological issue, or perhaps was under the influence of some sort.
It turned out he was having a diabetic reaction. The man was incoherent at the time, Buglione said.
Buglione said he initially tried to speak to the man through the rear window on the driver’s side, which was knocked out.
“I asked him if he had been using drugs or drinking and I couldn’t get an answer,” Buglione said.
Buglione said he also asked the man if he had any firearms or weapons. He responded by shaking his head and saying “yes,” Buglione said.
“I asked him his name and he didn’t know,” he said.
Both of man’s Subaru Legacy’s airbags deployed, and deputies had to sever his seat belt to remove him from the car. While en route to Aspen Valley Hospital he was treated for his condition.
“He started feeling better then,” Buglione said, adding that when he later talked to the man, he did not remember a thing.
“He actually was pretty thankful,” Buglione said, “and he was pretty embarrassed.”
Undersheriff Joe DiSalvo said the motorist would not be issued any summonses.
“How can you hold a guy a responsible for this?” DiSalvo said. “It’s like charging someone for having a stroke at the wheel.”
DiSalvo and Buglione said as unfortunate as the incident was, it could have been much worse had other vehicles been involved.
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