I-70 crash was 'like a scene out of a movie'

Witness offers assistance at deadly Denver West crash

Posted 4/26/19

“I heard it before I saw it,” Darin Barton said of the fatal, multi-vehicle crash that closed I-70. “The flames and the smoke were pretty intense. It was chaotic.” Barton was at his regular …

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I-70 crash was 'like a scene out of a movie'

Witness offers assistance at deadly Denver West crash

Posted

“I heard it before I saw it,” Darin Barton said of the fatal, multi-vehicle crash that closed I-70. “The flames and the smoke were pretty intense. It was chaotic.”

Barton was at his regular panhandling spot with a sign that read "I'm hungry" — on the north side of I-70 near the Denver West exit — in the afternoon on April 25. Barton, 45, says he's been homeless, working odd jobs and staying in and around the Golden area, since about 2014.

The truck plowed through the cars until it came to rest just east of the bridge, Barton said. Then it exploded into a ball of fire.

“Drivers were panicked,” Barton said. “They were trying to turn around and drive the other way. People were getting out and running from their cars.”

He stood up and yelled to a nearby friend to call 911. Then Barton started running toward the crash scene to offer assistance.

“I kept hearing the explosions,” Barton said, who guessed he heard about 15 of them. “I was trying to stay calm and just kept pushing on until I found somebody who needed help.”

He said he helped a man get a woman out of an SUV, who was banged up and suffering from what he guesses was a broken arm as a result of the crash. Barton and the other man helped her get to another woman's vehicle, who was stuck in traffic at the time but offered to take the injured woman to the hospital.

Barton was on scene until about dark, he said, when a television news crew took him to their Denver studio to do an interview.

Barton said he did not know exactly why he decided to run toward the crash, while others were trying to flee from it. It was probably just instincts, Barton said, that made him want to try to help those who he could.

The “chaos” of the crash scene “didn't affect me until afterwards, when the shock of it wore off,” Barton said. “It was like scene out of a movie.”

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