I-70 crash blamed on coughing fit

A Utah trucker told police and paramedics he nearly lost consciousness during a violent fit of coughing early Monday on Interstate 70 near the state line, causing a crash that closed westbound traffic nearly four hours, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

State Patrol Sgt. Jeff Lytle said the driver, 32-year-old Andrew Thomson of West Valley, Utah, told authorities he was suffering from flu and started to black out and was coughing “long and hard,” which, Thomson said, caused him to lose track of the road and miss a right curve in his path around mile marker 1 around 1:25 a.m.

The tractor-trailer careened into the median for some 226 feet, before Thomson over-corrected and caused the tractor-trailer to roll on its side in the westbound lanes, blocking all oncoming traffic, Lytle said.

Thomson’s legs were pinned under the dashboard, and he was extricated after nearly two hours by rescuers with the Lower Valley Fire Department.

He was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital with injuries described as “moderate.” Westbound traffic wasn’t opened in both lanes until around 5:15 a.m.

Thomson was hauling two, 26-foot trailers loaded with glass doors and windows, Lytle said.

Thomson was cited for careless driving.


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