Corporal Gary Striewski and Trooper Jesus Reyes
On November 14, 2005 at approximately 2300 hours, Corporal Gary Striewski and Trooper Jesus Reyes were notified of a one-vehicle injury accident on Colorado 6 at milepost 262. They were advised that the vehicle involved was on its top in Clear Creek and that the driver was trapped in the vehicle.
Upon their arrival they observed a Ford Bronco on its top approximately three quarters submerged in the creek. Witnesses standing on the embankment advised them that they heard a female voice inside the vehicle screaming for help. Corporal Striewski and Trooper Reyes requested medical and water rescue. They then entered the water and began to shout to the driver, confirming she was the only party inside. Corporal Striewski broke out the rear passenger window to try and gain access to her, but was unsuccessful. Trooper Reyes broke out the front passenger window, but were still unable to get to the driver. Trooper Reyes tried to open the passenger door, but the handle had broken off outside the vehicle, and he was unable to open the door from inside. Corporal Striewski obtained a pry bar from a C.D.O.T. employee, yet was unable to pry the door open. Trooper Reyes tried again for the door handle, found it, and when opening the door could see the female driver whose head was barely above the water level.
Corporal Striewski asked if she were injured, and she said no, but was very cold and trapped by her seatbelt. She was partially submerged and having difficulty keeping her head above the water level. Trooper Reyes made several attempts to free the driver from her seatbelt, but was unsuccessful as her foot was also tangled in the wreckage. Corporal Striewski then tried to go around to the driver side, but was unable to do so due to the depth and current of the creek. Trooper Reyes and Corporal Striewski then tried to pull the driver by her arms from the vehicle, but still could not get her out.
Trooper Reyes then left to advise dispatch of the situation while Corporal Striewski stayed in the creek to hold the driver’s head above the water level. Fire rescue arrived on scene and Corporal Striewski stayed in until the driver was stabilized on a backboard. Trooper Reyes and rescue personnel then pulled Corporal Striewski from the water after being in for nearly 30 minutes.
The female driver was removed from the vehicle by rescue personnel after approximately an hour in the frigid water. Unfortunately, she was pronounced dead at the hospital at 0116 hours due to hypothermia.
It should be noted that the temperature that evening was 32 degrees with moderate snow showers and icy, snow-packed roads and poor visibility. The water temperature taken the next day was 32.3 degrees. Corporal Striewski and Trooper Reyes heroic efforts went above and beyond the call of duty by getting into the freezing, swift waters of Clear Creek in an attempt to rescue the driver.