EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A motorcycle trooper with the Colorado State Patrol and a local tow operator narrowly escaped with minor injuries after a drunk driver crashed into both their vehicles as they were cleaning up a previous crash.
At approximately 1:34 a.m., Trooper Dean McClain was finishing an on scene investigation of a single vehicle crash that had been reported just before that same evening at 11:40 p.m.
McClain’s 2020 BMW Patrol motorcycle was parked on the right shoulder with its emergency lights activated. Directly in front of the motorcycle was a 2017 Freightliner tow truck, with its amber lights activated, loading the vehicle from the first crash.
A southbound 1998 Ford pickup traveled from the left lane across the middle and right lanes onto the shoulder before colliding with both the motorcycle and the tow truck. The motorcycle was thrown across all lanes of traffic into the center median where it caught fire and was destroyed.
At the time of impact, McClain was standing on the west side of the guardrail. The tow operator, a 31-year-old male from Colorado Springs, was standing between the tow truck and the guardrail. Debris from the impacts struck both McClain and the tow operator causing minor injuries.
The driver of the Ford pickup, 55-year-old Bernard Ewertz of Greeley, received moderate injuries. Ewertz’s passenger, a 31-year-old woman also from Greeley suffered serious injuries. Both were transported to a hospital. Neither McClain nor the tow operator were transported.
Ewertz was later arrested for driving under the influence. Two lanes of I-25 were closed for approximately four hours while the on scene investigation took place.
“Today, we were extremely lucky this situation was not worse,” said Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “We have not always been this lucky. This is a dramatic reminder of the dangers of both not moving over, and driving under the influence.”