Lights In Area Of Fatal Crash Will Be Repaired

(Photo Courtesy: CSFD)

A driver named Billy J. Reed was behind the wheel of the milk tanker that overturned on a dark stretch of I-25 last month. Police say he later died of his injuries.

The tanker crashed just north of Cimarron on a particularly dark portion of the interstate. Though streetlights line the stretch of road just north of downtown, none are lit. Police tell 11 News the darkness could have played a role in why the driver crashed, but they say it is difficult to determine an exact cause because they were never able to interview the driver.

Copper thieves are to blame for the darkness where the driver crashed, police say. They told 11 News thieves have stolen copper from streetlights just north of downtown, resulting in an unlit stretch of interstate.

The head of the city's streetlight program says the lights were hit a year ago, fixed, and then hit again. Additionally, there are over 400 lights out in Colorado Springs due to copper thieves.

To repair a vandalized streetlight costs around $1,000.

"When I first arrived this morning, before the sun came up, all of these streetlights were out," Sgt. Kelly said on the day of the crash. "Its been like that for quite some time, but it only adds to the problem."

Whatever the cause of the crash, the City of Colorado Springs has confirmed that many of the lights on I-25 between Fillmore and Cimarron will be repaired during the first quarter of 2012. The only lights that will be excluded are those covered by the deactivation plan.

The City says drivers can expect to start seeing an improvement by the end of January.

Reed's truck crashed into the barrier and overturned just after 4 a.m. on Thursday, December 18. The resulting mess closed northbound I-25 from Cimarron to Bijou for several hours.

The crash left the driver trapped, but fire crews were successfully able to extricate him. He was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries, but never recovered from his injuries.