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Colorado State Patrol says Interstate 70 will be closed for a while after crashes: "semi after semi colliding, jackknifing"

CSP: Interstate 70 will be closed for a while after series of crashes
Truckers describes damage to his semi after snowy wrecks on I-70 02:40

Troopers say it will likely be a while before they are able to clear Interstate 70 of a series of pileups near Byers, east of Denver.

Dozens of semis and four cars crashed over a span of about a mile where wind-whipped snow created dangerous conditions.

"Semis came through here, obviously a little bit faster than they should. Lost control and started just a chain reaction of semi after semi colliding, jackknifing," said Colorado State Patrol Cpl. Ian Alvarado.

Two truck drivers asked to be taken to the hospital.

"Nobody's really seriously injured which is actually a miracle," said Alvarado.

Traffic was shut down at Airpark Road and backed up for miles.

People trying to get around the closure began to go way out of their way.

"We had some issues earlier for people that said, 'oh, my GPS told me to go this way because I-70 is closed,' and it's like, we're closed here too," said Dave Fisher, undersheriff of Elbert County.

Fisher was at a roadblock at Highway 86 in Kiowa, where locals asked to get through. He wasn't allowing it: "They have to get home. And I realize that, but they could also lose their life out here."

Among the truckers who crashed was owner/operator Arturo Garcia, who was thinking about what he was going to do. His cab and trailer were both smashed. He had been hauling a load of onions to Louisiana.

Money for delivering was not good: "The brokers, pay us small amount. It's too bad."

Sometimes, he said he drove on in bad weather when he didn't want to, "because I have to pay this. Have to make payment on this thing. And now rebuild the engine."

Troopers and sheriff's deputies were having difficulty getting enough help in clearing the wreck Wednesday night.

"We're going to try to figure out who we call out, but even if we do, there is not one company right now in Colorado that would be able to take all of these semis, so it's going to be a long cleanup," said Alvarez.

The highway was not likely to be re-opened until sometime Thursday.

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