Tow truck driver credits fallen CSP cadet with saving his life

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- A tow truck driver said he was alive because of what a Colorado State Patrol Cadet did just before he was killed on Saturday.

With tears in his eyes, tow truck driver Rusty Melvin talked about someone he knew for just a few seconds.

"It could've been me. He saved my life," said Melvin.

Melvin was loading a white Mercedes Benz on his truck at a crash on Highway 66 and County Road 1 Saturday morning when 21-year-old Cadet Taylor Thyfault stopped him.

"I was getting ready to walk around the back of my truck when the cadet actually stopped me and said get back, get back," he said.

Thyfault who was training with CSP Trooper Clinton Rushing warned Melvin of a police chase headed their way.

“I looked up and heard the sirens and saw the troopers throwing down the stop sticks," said Melvin.

And in seconds, a driver in a Honda Civic, Melvin said was going at least 80 miles an hour, barreled through the scene.

"He struck the trooper and his car kind of went into a drift and then he struck Cadet Taylor," he said. “(It) launched him about 25 to 30 feet into the air and another 25 to 35 feet back from where we were."

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The 21-year-old died instantly.

"I could've very well been in that exact spot," said Melvin.

CSP troopers said that was the type of person Thyfault was.

“As a cadet, he was one of our squad leaders for his class so he was very well liked, very well received," said Trooper Josh Lewis.

According to his Facebook page, Cadet Thyfault served in the U.S. Army, before training to become a trooper.

"Thank you for saving my life. I feel so bad for his family. He's a 21 year old kid. But he saved my life," said Melvin.

Cadet Thyfault was going to be assigned to Pagosa Springs after graduation in a few weeks.

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