JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – During the tragic crash involving 28 vehicles on Interstate 70, a Colorado State Trooper kept a teenager from the path of semi truck flying down the interstate.
Isabel Witter, 17, had a dead car battery. The trooper got it out of the way moments before the truck sped past them.
Trooper Joshua Furman was headed home Thursday when he got caught in traffic on westbound I-70 near Lakewood. Just before the Denver West exit he noticed Witter was broken down on the highway. So he did what he’s supposed to do.
“I got out checked on her. She said he battery died so I pushed her off the road.”
He took the off ramp and continued east. Seconds later he noticed something was odd.
“I looked in my rear view mirror, and I saw smoke. A lady pulled up beside me and started honking and pointing backward. So I notify dispatch of the smoke and asked them to send a fire truck. I got out of the car, and as I was going back everything became completely engulfed,” he said.
A semi-truck carrying lumber slammed into traffic on eastbound I-70 causing a huge fire and multiple explosions. Four people were killed.
Furman tried to go back to save people, but it was impossible at the moment.
“The fire was hot enough you couldn’t get close to it.”
He got busy making sure people got away from the inferno and then a thought popped into his head, what happened to the girl he had just pushed off of the highway?
“I had asked if anybody knew where she went because I hadn’t seen her and nobody had seen her up to that point” he said. “That weighed on me quite heavily.”
Witter says she was feet from being part of the tragedy. She says she saw the semi race by her.
“It was almost like a train because it was going so fast,” she said. “It passed two or three feet from my car before it exploded.”
Furman didn’t know it and neither did Isabel at the time, but the trooper saved her life Thursday.
“If the trooper hadn’t been two or three cars behind me, and I was stopped in that lane I might have been the first car that was hit,” said Witter.
Furman found out Friday she was okay, but the teenager can’t wait to thank him herself. Just knowing she’s okay is good enough for Trooper Furman.
“That was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders when I found out.”