(PUELO, Colo.) — On Monday, Oct. 16, the Pueblo County Coroner identified the semi truck driver who was found dead beneath a collapsed bridge following a train derailment north of Pueblo on I-25 over the weekend, which will impact traffic on I-25 for the foreseeable future.
The semi truck driver has been identified as 60-year-old Lafollette Henderson of Compton, California, according to the Pueblo County Coroner, and Governor Jared Polis issued his condolences on Monday along with a statement on the work that lies ahead.
Also on Monday, several local leaders and agencies toured the site of the derailment. According to the Pueblo Police Department (PPD), Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar and Pueblo County Commissioner Daneya Esgar inspected the site of the derailment with representatives from the Colorado State Patrol, Colorado Department of Transportation, and BNSF Railway Monday morning.
“Unfortunately, there will be continued delays on I-25 as there are several aspects of this incident that need to be addressed before traffic on the roadway can resume,” PPD said.
Governor Polis addressed some of those aspects in a statement that included a message to the truck driver’s family.
I am saddened that a life was lost in this train derailment and send my condolences to his family and loved ones. I have been briefed by CDOT and [Sunday] I spoke directly to Secretary Buttigieg and BNSF, the operator of the train. Our immediate priority is safely getting the highway open both ways. CDOT Director Shoshana Lew and federal officials are on the ground in Pueblo and I am receiving updates directly from the team onsite and plan to receive an onsite briefing this week once our state debris-clearing work has begun. We cannot begin our work to reopen the highway until the National Transportation Safety Board clears us to proceed and I urged Secretary Buttigieg to allow us to conduct debris removal as soon as possible. It is estimated that the debris removal phase could take as long as 48 hours, but I am ensuring that we are doing everything we can to complete it more quickly, including beginning preparations now so we can begin as soon as we are allowed to and save precious hours.Governor Jared Polis
While the cause of the derailment is still under investigation, Governor Polis added that improvements to rail infrastructure are needed in Southern Colorado.
“Our administration has been working for months to position Colorado to take advantage of the safety and rail investments that Congress and President Biden made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Polis. “Sadly, those improvements come too late to prevent this incident but it’s clear that federal funds for rail support are critical for Colorado.”