Why did deputy ignore accident? | PostIndependent.com

Why did deputy ignore accident?

Dear Editor,

To: Tom Dalessandri

On Friday Aug. 23, I followed a deputy sheriff who was driving a sheriff’s department van, westbound from Glenwood on I-70. We came upon the fatal accident that had obviously occurred only moments before. The deputy stopped and turned on his lights. However, after about 10 seconds, he turned off his lights and continued on to exit at Silt.

There was no other police presence at the accident at that time.

Citizens were stopping their cars, to direct traffic and get people to slow down. It was an incredibly dangerous situation.

Could you explain to me what higher priority that deputy could have had at that moment, that he could not have stopped and rendered assistance?

I am sure the injured and dying victims of that accident deserved better from the sheriff’s department.


Paul F. Cutright

New Castle

Editor’s note: Mr. Cutright raises an important question. We sought an answer from Sheriff Dalessandri, who responded with the following letter.

Sheriff responds

Dear Editor,

On Monday, Aug. 26, I received an e-mail from Paul Cutright expressing his concerns with a sheriff’s transport deputy at the fatal accident that occurred on the eastbound lanes of I-70 last Friday. Mr. Cutright related that he had witnessed a sheriff’s transport van come upon the accident, stop and turn on his emergency flashers. After a short time, the transport van turned off its lights and proceeded westbound on I-70. Mr. Cutright indicated that no other law enforcement was on scene.

In researching the incident, I learned that the transport deputy had been monitoring the police radio prior to arriving on scene and heard a police car advise they were en route to the accident. When the transport deputy arrived on the scene of the accident he saw a person on the right side of westbound I-70 attempting to stop or slow down traffic. He activated his rear emergency lights and was able to slow down and eventually stop all westbound traffic.

At this point several individuals ran across the road to assist at the scene. The transport deputy then was motioned through by the person standing on the roadside. He continued westbound, and within a short distance, he saw a police vehicle responding eastbound to the accident scene.

Based on the transport deputy’s knowledge that emergency police cars were responding and arriving on scene, he decided to continue westbound instead of returning to the scene or staying on scene with his limited emergency vehicle equipment.

Thanks for inquiring and seeking clarification.

Thomas P. Dalessandri,

Garfield County sheriff

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


See more