State trooper not cited for patrol accident
Commander: 'Corrective measures' taken
Steamboat Springs — A state trooper who wrecked a patrol vehicle into the rear of a logging truck will not be issued a citation, but he does face disciplinary action.
After reviewing the “totality of the circumstances,” Trooper Richard Kaspar will not be cited for the Feb. 19 accident, said Capt. Gary Torgerson, who is the commanding officer for state troopers in Routt, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Grand and Jackson counties.
“We hold our officers to a high standard,” Torgerson said. “Higher than the motorized public. We determined he (Kaspar) was in the process of doing his job.
“He won’t be cited, but in this case, corrective measures will be taken.”
Torgerson said he could not reveal what “corrective measures” Kaspar will be subject to because it is a “personnel issue,” but he indicated Kaspar’s job is not in jeopardy.
Kaspar rear-ended the logging truck at about noon two miles west of the Rabbit Ears Pass base.
Although Kaspar’s patrol car struck the truck, Torgerson said the trooper was not at fault because of the circumstances created when the trucks suffered a busted radiator hose.
The radiator malfunction created a thick cloud that made visibility difficult around a curve in the road, he said.
“When he got into the cloud, he could not see that the truck had slowed down and was pulling off the roadway,” Torgerson said.
Kaspar’s patrol car, a 1999 Chevrolet Lumina worth $11,000, was totaled in the collision.
Torgerson said the patrol vehicle was “miled out” and was scheduled to be replaced later this year.
Kaspar and the logging truck driver, Steven Winschell, 44, of Rifle were not injured in the accident.
Kaspar was pursuing the logging truck for speeding and traveling on Rabbit Ears without chains, which were required that day by the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Winschell was not cited for the alleged infractions.
Kaspar was traveling westbound when he noticed the infractions and turned his vehicle around to pursue the truck.
Torgerson said Kaspar’s vehicle reached speeds of 65 mph, but the trooper decelerated when he came upon the cloud created by the truck’s radiator.
“When he saw the cloud he slowed to 35 mph and went around the corner,” Torgerson said.
Kaspar, who has worked for the State Patrol for a year and a half, did not need medical attention and finished his shift.
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