It looked like something out of Hollywood. That’s the description Hanover Fire Chief Carl Tatum described Tuesday morning’s bizarre accident on Old Pueblo Road. Rainwater washed away the roadbed near a culvert creating a large sinkhole in the road.
A van fell in the sinkhole. The driver was able to walk away, but then a second vehicle fell in on top of it. The firefighters were responding to that second call for service when they fell victim to mother nature as well.
"The road was already washed out and these guys did not see due to the darkness and the vehicles below grade it looked like the road just continued," Chief Tatum explained. "It’s just unfortunate."
Two firefighters were injured and their truck pinned the driver of the second vehicle inside his car.
One of the firefighters, John Greene, was just released from the hospital Thursday.
"I have a fracture on my cheekbone, a broke my nose and I have four compression fractures on my vertebrae," he said.
Green will spend the next few months rehabilitating his injuries with his parents in New Mexico. He is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community.
"Thanks for all the support that they’ve given me in my time of recovery and I’m hoping to be back soon to help them again," he said.
Chief Tatum says the other firefighter is still in the hospital, but things are looking up.
"Kenneth in good spirits he’s talking, he’s got he’s been through two surgeries now," Tatum said. He added that Kenneth will likely face 3 to 6 months of rehabilitation after he’s released.
With two of his volunteers on medical leave has left Tatum reliant upon neighboring fire districts for help responding to calls for service.
"We rely on each other and that’s this industry," Tatum said. We support each other, when somebody is hurt, other departments around them pick up the slack and that’s what happened today."
The Colorado State Patrol is still investigating the crash.