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Semi-truck driver in deadly Interstate 25 crash could still face charges, bridge to remain closed

One woman has died after a crash involving an excavator on Monday evening along I-25
One woman has died after a crash involving an excavator on Monday evening along I-25 02:42

The semi-truck driver accused of causing a deadly crash along Interstate 25 in Mead could still face charges depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigation. 

The Colorado State Patrol (CPS) says 52-year-old Darnell Yingling of Fort Collins was driving a semi towing a trackhoe when the arm of it collided with an overpass.

"It does look like it hit that very first girder, kept going through and it looks like it took a little bit out of three different pieces of the underside as well as ripping up a bunch of rebar," said Jared Fiel, the Northeastern Regional Communications Manager for the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Fiel says the clearance of the overpass at Weld County Road 35 is just over 17 feet, which is required for Colorado's traffic code, and vehicles over the height of 14 feet need a special permit. CSP says Yingling did not have any special permits pulled for the rig he was operating.

CSP says charges have not been filed, but it will work with the District Attorney's office once the case is filed.

While CSP continues its investigation, CDOT will work to determine if the overpass is repairable. It says it will work on short-term solutions, but replacing the overpass altogether remains a possibility.

"The long-term plan is for there to be a new bridge there as we expand I-25 in that section but that's not currently funded yet," said Fiel.

Engineers will continue to measure load safety on the overpass, but CDOT believes it will remain closed for an extended period of time.

As for the cost of the damages, it's likely CDOT will be reaching out to Yingling's insurance carrier to help cover the cost.

"When a piece of our infrastructure or roadway is damaged due to somebody else, we will look at collecting from their insurance as well," he said. 

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