By Jeff Todd
GENESEE, Colo. (CBS4) – A Jefferson County Sheriff’s deputy doesn’t know how long her path to recovery will take or if she’ll need surgery, but she’s hoping the crash that broke her arm can get other drivers to slow down.
“I feel very fortunate; I think somebody above is probably looking out for me. Well not probably, they are. It could have been a lot worse,” said Deputy Sheila Kirin.
She was with a partner Wednesday night when they were responding to dozens of crashes on eastbound Interstate 70 between Genesee and C-470.
“I didn’t know I was going to get struck. There were multiple car pileups going eastbound on I-70 and I had just pulled the car from westbound to eastbound. I was in the, we would call, the fast lane,” Kirin said.
She was walking down the hill on the left side of I-70 to check on drivers involved in a pileup when she heard her partner shout her name.
“I heard him yell my name and I turned towards him and then I was struck. I didn’t see the car coming,” Kirin said. “I actually saw the vehicle that hit me, the guy stuck his head out the window and he was asking if I was okay. We had a conversation. I told him to stay in his car. I told him that he needed to stay right there and then I went to see if there was anyone else injured in the other vehicles.”
“Her first priority wasn’t about her, it was about the other people that were there, and that’s incredible bravery and incredible dedication,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader.
The driver of the car that hit Kirin stayed for a short time, and then took off.
“I was furious, I was furious. I mean, you hit me and then you leave,” Kirin said. “I mean, he was going way too fast for conditions and I don’t think he was paying attention to what he was coming up on.”
“This is really the fault of the driver and there wasn’t anything Sheila could have done that would have rendered herself any more safe,” Shrader said.
Robert Landsperg, 62, was arrested early Thursday morning.
He’s charged with four misdemeanors including careless driving and failure to remain at the scene of an accident.
“People need to slow down. I mean it was very dangerous out there, it was very slippery,” Kirin said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.