News

Much Help Saves Life After I-80 Accident

Kelsey Campobasso of West Brighton, MN, was driving along I-80 near Laramie, WY, on April 17, 2013, when she was caught in a terrible chain-reaction accident involving nearly five miles of vehicles, including many commercial trucks.  CDOT Denver and Region 4 area employees will likely remember that day as one of the three consecutive Wednesdays of winter storms that hit the northern Front Range during April.

Campbasso's Honda Civic was crushed between two semis and she was pinned in the wreckage for two hours.  When she was cut free by the Jaws of Life, she was transported to Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, where it was determined that she needed to be moved immediately to Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.  The only problem - roads were closed and helicopters were grounded by the howling storm.

Wyoming DOT had requested that U.S. 287 be closed from Ft. Collins to Laramie because of adverse conditions, primarily north of the border.  A WYDOT crew plowed ahead of the ambulance and got Campobasso to the border, where the ambulance found improved road conditions on to Ft. Collins and then to Loveland.  Among her many thank-yous, Campobasso noted that "WYDOT and CDOT crews were there to ensure that the three-hour transport by ambulance was safe."  On duty on U.S. 287 that day was Michael Fields, TM-I for Patrol 1 at Livermore, Greeley Maintenance Section 1, Region 4.

There's a happy ending to this story.  Despite the severity of her injuries, Campobasso is recuperating at home.  She spent 10 days in the hospital, five of them in intensive care, and she has worked with numerous doctors as well as many occupational, speech, and physical therapists.  She is on her way to a full recovery, to the amazement of her doctors and those closest to her.

There's a great lesson in Kelsey Campobasso's story.  Every motorist on the road is someone's loved one.  Every part of a response and rescue effort is absolutely critical, from emergency medical response to plowing highways.  Many things had to fall into place just right to save Campobasso's life that day, and this time they did.  Her kindness in reaching out to all who helped her during those bleak days shows that she is the type of person who will 'pay it forward' when she has the opportunity in the future.

Michael Fields was doing his job along U.S. 287 that day.  Because the highway from the border north was officially closed, he no doubt wasn't expecting traffic from that direction.  And he probably never imagined the type of situation that developed along I-80 near Laramie.  But because he was diligent in his job responsibilities, U.S. 287 in Colorado was ready on a moment's notice when it was needed.

Congratulations to Michael and to everyone else in Wyoming and Colorado who played a role in saving Kelsey Campobasso's life.  Here's hoping similar outstanding people will respond for your or your loved ones if you should ever find yourself in a similar situation.

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