COLORADO SPRINGS- Bob Eberhart spent decades as an officer with the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), and in that time he experienced five close calls on the roads.
“I even think the drivers that are aggressive out on the streets would like to see it safer for everyone,” Eberhart said.
On January 2nd, 2015, one of those crashes ultimately led to him retiring early from the department. He was responding to crash on I-25 near Tejon. As he was exiting the vehicle, another driver crashed into his patrol car. Temporarily trapping him underneath the steering wheel.
That same day, another CSPD patrol car was also hit.
“I didn’t even know if I was breathing, I was trying to call my dispatch several times and I couldn’t get words out,” Eberhart said.
Today, Eberhart still feels the impacts from the crash in 2015, he says he struggles with light sensitivity, headaches, tinnitus, among other symptoms. He can drive but says he often avoids Interstates and Highways, taking back roads. At times, driving gives him anxiety.
Ultimately, the trouble he experienced after the crash led to him retiring earlier than he anticipated in October that same year.
With his experience and recent tragedies throughout the state- Eberhart believes there could be more education- starting with families talking to their kids and teens.
“It breaks my heart to see any of our first responders who are willing to risk their lives as it is lose it in a senseless way,” Eberhart said.
Since Eberhart’s experience, changes have been made to Colorado law. In 2017, lawmakers added more penalities to the “Move Over Law”, making it a misdemeanor for drivers who don’t get in the other lane when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road. If their actions cause death, it’s a Class 6 Felony.