Colorado sheriff’s office uses snowcat to rescue drivers in storm

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Some drivers tried to get around the I-70 closure and found themselves stuck, the sheriff’s office said.

GEORGETOWN, Colo — The Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office had to use a snowcat to rescue multiple people Wednesday and Thursday, as heavy snow blanketed the area.

Multiple rescues took place on side roads throughout the county, as drivers tried to get around the closure of Interstate 70, said John Kyler, who works for the sheriff’s office.

“Because I-70 was closed, they thought it was a good idea to use their phone to try and beat traffic,” Kyler said. “It was very nasty.” 

The snowcat is rarely used for rescues, but Kyler said it was necessary to reach drivers who were essentially stranded in their vehicles.

“It will turn on a dime and gets us a lot of places that you can’t get any other way,” he said. “We can actually get in and rescue people, which is what we did yesterday.”

The sheriff’s office shared photos of those rescues, highlighting the dangerous conditions some drivers tried to make it through.

“The amount of snow that fell, and the speed at which it fell, made travel impossible,” said Suzanne Boccia, emergency management director.

Boccia helped coordinate dozens of rescues Wednesday night into Thursday night and said they did a final sweep Friday morning to ensure no drivers were still trapped in cars that had been abandoned throughout the county.

“We need to be able to get to those people fast, to make sure they’re safe in this very cold and difficult environment,” Boccia said.

In general, it’s safest to remain in your vehicle even if you might be stuck on the interstate, she said.

RELATED: Clear Creek, Gilpin counties declare local disaster emergency

RELATED: Pursuit on closed mountain pass ends in crash with plow truck, deputies say

RELATED: Colorado begins to dig out from strong winter snowstorm

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Colorado sheriff’s office uses snowcat to rescue drivers in storm

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