DENVER (KDVR) — An Interstate 70 pothole that allegedly caused a camper trailer to crash was nothing new.
After FOX31 aired a story about the crash on Wednesday, viewers contacted the Problem Solvers, saying potholes along that stretch of road have been an issue for a while.
Complaints filed about I-70 potholes
A complaint, FOX31 was told, was filed with the Colorado Department of Transportation on Feb. 9, saying there were issues. That was three weeks before the camper trailer crash made headlines.
Mandy Sevier, who uses I-70, said she told CDOT it was dangerous.
“We hit a very large pothole and almost lost control of our vehicle,” Sevier said.
Another driver told the Problem Solvers he too has now filed a complaint about the pothole.
“It just about flipped my truck. It took me a great deal of strength to regain control. By the time I did, I had gone from the right lane into the left (lane),” Ross, who asked to only use his first name, said.
CDOT shut down I-70 on March 4 because of a large pothole, just a few days after the camper trailer accident. Thomas Kuemmel, who said he was driving the speed limit before the crash, said he never should have been given a ticket.
“I’m not sure why I was cited for careless driving,” Kuemmel said.
How ‘careless driving’ charge is used by police
It turns out that “careless driving” is something that is used often when issuing tickets, FOX31 legal analyst Christopher Decker said.
“It’s not a surprise to me that the state would charge ‘careless driving.’ They (law enforcement officers) seem to do that in circumstances almost always. The careless driving statute is extremely broad. Virtually any accident could arguably constitute careless driving,” Decker said.
Kuemmel said he plans to fight the ticket.
“(The) defense would be quite strong. They (Kuemmel) were operating the vehicle in a safe and cautious manner at a speed that was not unreasonable,” Decker said.
Kuemmel and his fiancée said they had rented the trailer for their trip to Colorado. One of their concerns is how a careless driving ticket may impact who is liable for the damages.
CDOT has referred FOX31 to Colorado State Patrol for questions about the pothole accident. FOX31 is scheduled to speak with the CDOT on Friday.
Meanwhile, Kuemmel is scheduled to appear in court in May.