DENVER (CBS4)– Several recent crashes in the Denver metro area have raised concerns about the barriers used to separate opposite directions of traffic and how it protects those on the road. One crash survivor recounts what happened to him.
Earlier this month, a female driver in an SUV was heading southbound on Interstate 25 near 144th Ave. when she hit the guardrail on the shoulder, overcorrected and swerved across all lanes of traffic and struck the center concrete barrier.
The SUV then went over the barrier, crossed all southbound lanes and came to a stop on the shoulder. The female driver died. No other passengers were inside the SUV.
Three other vehicles were hit with debris from the first SUV striking the barrier and going into the northbound lanes. All the drivers were okay.
Martin Tsibrov was in one of those cars.
“It felt like I was in a movie or something. It just didn’t feel real,” said Tsibrov.
He saw the SUV smash through the concrete barrier, “I saw the car flying over and so I closed my eyes.”
As he hit the brakes, a nearly 200 pound chunk of concrete smashed through his car windshield.
“I opened my eyes, the windshield was down and I was all covered in glass,” said Tsibrov.
Just two weeks later another SUV lost control on I-25 when it flew over a cable barrier into oncoming traffic. Two people were killed.
Colorado Department of Transportation Traffic and Safety Engineer Charles Meyer said both crashes are unusual. He adds that cable barriers are designed to slow vehicles down and prevent them from going into oncoming traffic.
“We’ve looked at that 40-mile stretch. In fact, in the last 10 years there have been no fatalities and then 10 years prior to that there were 35 fatalities so it’s made a difference and that guard rail is getting hit very frequently, about 100 times a year,” said Meyer.
CDOT said cable barriers are the safest and have been installed on 500 miles of Colorado roadways.
CDOT is always researching options to keep drivers safe.
“It’s just a miracle nothing happened to me,” said Tsibrov.