Strong Response to Canyon Emergency

On Sept. 14, a bicyclist on the Glenwood Canyon recreation path near milepost 126 suffered a medical emergency.  Other path users tried to help by doing cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the stricken man.

That's when Braden Biocic, who was at the Hanging Lake Tunnels control center for a meeting, spotted the incident on the control center cameras.  No one at the scene had thought to call tunnel control.

Jud Gurley (pictured at right) was dispatched for traffic control on the viaduct above the path; he thought to grab an Automated External Defribrillator (AED) unit from another response vehicle and took it along just in case.  He arrived on the viaduct above the crowd that had gathered on the rec path and was informed that the patient was not responding to CPR.  He lowered himself onto the path and administered defibrillation.  By then, both Colorado State Patrol and Garfield County Sheriff's officers, who had been notified by Hanging Lake Tunnels, were on the scene.

Despite all efforts to save him, the bicyclist passed away.

The outcome, however, does not diminish the efforts of Hanging Lake Tunnels employees.  Scott Dunn was dispatched to the scene to assume incident command; he took a fire pumper truck to give responders safe ladder access from the viaduct down to the recreation path.  Larry Carver and Todd Nystrom assumed control room duties as their co-workers were deployed.

Gurley was verbally commended by Garfield County Deputy Sheriff Steven Kuhl at the scene. Then, on Saturday, the following e-mail was received from Capt. Daniel Valdez, Glenwood Springs Fire Department training officer:  "We would like you to pass on our thanks to your staff yesterday for their assistance with CPR on the bike path.  The patient received what he needed most the shocks from your AED in a timely fashion.  Logistically the bike path is always a problem when it comes to equipment at the scene. Your pumper and its equipment aided in the safety of the deputies, medics, and firefighters.  Thank you again and we look forward to future operations with you and your staff!"

Next time you hear a news account of an emergency happening and bystanders refusing to assist, you can rest assured that none of those people are CDOT maintenance professionals.  "I am proud of the quick-thinking, professional, caring crew that works at Hanging Lake Tunnels," noted their boss, LTC Ops I Greg Sullivan in an e-mail to Grand Junction Maintenance Section 3 superintendents.

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