A truck driver’s first time on Colorado’s notorious Wolf Creek Pass took a terrifying turn yesterday when his brakes overheated and “he was off to the races”, according to the Colorado State Patrol (CSP).
CSP: First Time Trucker Takes Wolf Creek Pass Too Fast
According to CSP, the incident began around 10:15 a.m. when 46 year old Virginia-based truck driver Milton Parada was hauling a load of lumber westbound on Highway 160 near mile marker 161. CSP Sgt. Ben Stuever says that Parada was going too fast during the descent: “He was probably in an improper gear and had to use his brakes more than he should have. The brakes over-heated, and he was off to the races.”
Parada was unable to navigate the hairpin turns of Wolf Creek Pass and overturned just before the final runaway truck ramp on the west side of the pass. The truck rolled over onto the driver’s side, spilling approximately 46,000 pounds of lumber.
Parada walked away from the crash with minor injuries.
Stuever said that the truck’s brakes were still smoking when he arrived on the scene half an hour after the truck crashed. Parada was ticketed for careless driving.
Though the Colorado Department of Transportation has been actively warning truck drivers to “Fear the Wolf”, Stuever says most experienced truckers don’t have a problem: “It almost never happens to people who drive over it a lot. It’s always first-time drivers.”
Forty-nine trucks crashed on Wolf Creek Pass between 2011 and 2015. Two of those crashes were fatal.
This summer, the Colorado Department of Transportation plans to make changes to reduce truck crashes on Wolf Creek Pass. These changes include increased signage, the addition of a concrete barrier, and lane reconfiguration. CDOT will also install electric signage instructing truck drivers to use the runaway truck ramp if they are going too fast.
Last year, CDOT shared video of a runaway truck on Wolf Creek Pass as a warning to truckers: “With stretches as wide as four lanes, US 160/Wolf Creek Pass can deceive drivers into thinking there is ample room to navigate it. Adding high speeds to this miscalculation creates dangerous conditions—particularly for commercial vehicle drivers.”