This week I'd just like to thank all local law enforcement officers, my partner Trooper Adrian Carillo, EMS personnel and both wrecker services for the support shown in closing U.S. 287 during the snowstorm last week. We had three accidents shortly after the storm hit and I feel would have had many more had we not shut down the road.
Many thanks as well to the local churches who open their doors to stranded travelers when our motels fill up during times like this.
Closing a major highway such as U.S. 287 is no small task nor one without stress to the person or persons responsible for closing it. (In this case, me.) When I hired into law enforcement I swore I would do all I could to safeguard lives and property and I continue to take that very seriously. It was clear to me that with all the semi's on the road at that time we were in for a potentially terrible run of serious crashes had we not stopped traffic as we did.
The director of Colorado Department of Transportation and officials in Amarillo with Texas DOT simply asked what they could do to help us. No questions asked.
Chief of Police Dale Harper, Officer Tonya Varella, Sheriff Keith Borth, Undersheriff Larry Taylor and our EMS personnel all placed themselves in harms way, (as they always do), to help Trooper Carillo and I work our accidents which is primarily our responsibility. These people don't even blink when standing on an ice covered road with near zero visibility and trucks driving by at high speeds. They do it because they simply want to help people injured in accidents. Most of whom none of us have ever met.
I once knew a fellow who didn't seem to like lawmen a great deal. He said one day: “Anyone can be a cop”. I will challenge him, and anyone else of that opinion to get out of their warm chair during a blizzard and come help us. You can be the one to stand on ice in the middle of the highway and flag traffic that won't slow down. Law enforcement officers, EMS personnel, wrecker operators and other people helping with accident scenes don't do it for the money. I don't think anyone could be paid enough to work accidents in a blizzard. Several people already thanked me for closing the road that day. I am paid in full. I ask that you thank those I named as well. Without them, I might have become someone's hood ornament last week. Be safe and thanks again to all......
Trooper Duane Johnson #280
Oklahoma Highway Patrol OHP280@roadcop.net