SILVER PLUME, Colo. (CBS4) – A driver was traveling under an Interstate 70 overpass in Silver Plume when his entire windshield went black. The van was covered in snow by a plow driving above him on the overpass.
The windshield cracked.
“Totally shattered it and some of that was coming inside at me,” Peter Vaartjes told CBS4.
He was headed to Georgetown from his home in Silver Plume to stock up on groceries during a break in the massive storm on Sunday.
“Right off the bat, I know there’s a bunch of ice,” he said.
He says a passing Colorado Department of Transportation plow working to clear the interstate sent a wall of ice and debris cascading down on him. He didn’t have time to react.
“I saw a plow coming before I went under the underpass,” he explained.
While scary, he wasn’t hurt, the van needs a new windshield.
CDOT says crews are trained to slow down when they plow over a bridge, as well as square up the actual plow until they are past the bridge.
“We try to mitigate falling snow as best we can by doing that. Due to the severe nature of this storm, which dumped an intense amount of snow, we dealt with 36-42 inches of snow in total and winds 50-60 mph causing snow drifts several feet high. In this case, there likely was a build up of snow along the shoulder and railing as our crews plowed the travel lanes, but the plows don’t dump snow off a bridges,” CDOT explained in a statement to CBS4.
The agency says the main priority is clearing the travel lanes for the safety of the traveling public.
Vaarthes says he plans on filing a claim through the state, not the state agency itself.
“We did report it with the state patrol. We will see if we can file a claim now,” he said.
In Colorado the State Office of Risk Management handles all claims filed by a citizen regardless of the state agency involved.
How do you file a claim? To comply with law, a claim cannot be filed on your behalf. YOU must file a claim with the Office of the Attorney General to start the process.
How do you start the process? Contact the State Office of Risk Management or visit their website to obtain the Notice to Attorney General claim form.
Vaarthes says he is extremely grateful to the CDOT crews out working in very tough conditions to clear roads, but hopes his story might help others in similar situations.