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Colorado Declares Emergency Amid Massive Storm; State Trooper Dies In Accident

Tree damage
Scott Franz
Tree damage in Denver during the severe winter storm on March 13, 2019.

Updated at 5:10 p.m.

A Colorado state patrol officer who was hit by a car during a winter storm while responding to an accident has died.

The Colorado State Patrol says Corporal Daniel Groves was outside his patrol car along Interstate 76 northeast of Denver on Wednesday when a driver lost control and hit him.

Officials say Groves was helping another driver who had slid off the highway. The State Patrol said Groves was taken to a hospital but died there of his injuries. Groves was 52 and had worked for the agency for nearly 12 years.

The crash is being investigated. The statement said high speed in poor driving conditions may be a factor.

The original story continues below.

Gov. Jared Polis has declared a state of emergency and activated the Colorado National Guard to help in search and rescue operations.

Polis spokeswoman Shelby Weiman said Wednesday the state Emergency Operations Center and the Department of Transportation are working with local counties "to prioritize the most immediate needs for those resources."

Amy Ford, a spokeswoman for the state transportation department, says dozens of drivers were stranded on Colorado highways, and numerous accidents were reported on roads that included interstates 25 and 70.

Emergency responders are scanning Twitter for messages from stranded drivers who may be stranded. CDOT spokeswoman Amy Ford said there are dozens of spin-outs and vehicle pile-ups across the state.

"Some are reaching out — you can see them reaching out on social media," Ford said. "So we're following and looking at that. Also we have our safety patrols and others patrolling some of these closures, and looking and supporting and helping."

Brighton Fire Rescue is working to get more than 30 stranded motorists off of 120th Ave., east of Tower Rd. Crews are taking people to nearby temporary shelters.

As a safety precaution, Thornton Police are towing abandoned vehicles to several locations, including Thorncreek Golf Club, a former K-Mart parking lot and the North Valley Tech Center.

Colorado Springs officials say hundreds of vehicles were stranded in the city and surrounding El Paso County, and it would take several hours for responders to reach them all.

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