Truck driver kills five elk on I-70 near Edwards
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado ” A Waste Management truck killed five elk crossing Interstate 70 near Edwards Thursday morning.
A 2005 Mack Truck was heading east, about one mile east of Edwards when the accident happened around 6:35 a.m., the Colorado State Patrol said.
The driver, Juaquin Villa, 49, of Edwards, was wearing a seat belt and was not injured. The CSP did not issue any traffic citation. Neither weather, road conditions, speed nor alcohol are considered factors in the crash.
The five elk killed in the crash were part of a group of about 15 elk crossing the interstate, the CSP said in a news release.
The left lane of eastbound Interstate 70 was closed for several minutes while emergency responders cleared the animals from the roadway. The truck sustained “minimal damage” and was driven away from the accident, the CSP said.
Someone had obtained a permit to claim one or more of the dead elk, said Division of Wildlife (DOW) spokesman Randy Hampton. People can get the road kill permits through the DOW within 48 hours after an accident in order to use the meat rather than let it go to waste.
The CSP responds to more accidents involving deer and elk in the winter months than at other times. During 2007, the CSP investigated 34 such accidents on I-70 between Edwards and Wolcott. In 2008, the number increased to 42.
Hampton said, “Certainly spring and late fall are the times that animals are migrating in the high country.”
Deer and elk are often near I-70 and Highway 82 in the winter months because the highways “cut through” their winter range, he said.
“You may have animals that move across on a daily basis in search of water,” Hampton said.
He said the Colorado Department of Transportation has done a great job of fencing off and posting warning signs near many of the problem areas, but it’s not feasible to completely fence animals off the highways.
The CSP encourages motorists to wear seat belts, watch out for deer and elk and use caution, especially during dawn and dusk.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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