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Publish Date: 9/1/2005

Pedestrian pinned between vehicles

LONGMONT — A construction worker suffered serious leg injuries after being pinned between two vehicles Wednesday morning.

The accident occurred at about 10:30 a.m. at 1932 Sundance Drive in northeastern Longmont.

The 32-year-old man, identified by police as Javier Armenta-Caro of Longmont, was flown to Denver Medical Health Hospital where he is listed in critical condition.

The driver, Mike O’Malley, was taken to Longmont United Hospital. He complained of pain and shortness of breath.

Wayne Rafferty of the Longmont Police Department said O’Malley’s status changed after arrival at the hospital — possibly from a medical condition unrelated to the crash — and that he had gone into surgery. LUH officials said O’Malley was in serious condition Wednesday afternoon.

Armenta-Caro, who works for Jagger Homes, was on a crew framing a house on Sundance the morning of the accident.

“He just came to get a soda,” co-worker Remigio Rivera said in Spanish.

Rivera said Armenta-Caro remained conscious after the accident. “We kept talking to him so he wouldn’t lose consciousness,” he said.

According to Rafferty, the driver, O’Malley, claimed to have blacked out before his Cadillac Deville crushed Armenta-Caro between its hood and the rear end of a parked Chevy Blazer.

Co-workers said Olga Martinez regularly sold concessions at the site from the back of the Blazer. Police said Martinez, who was outside her vehicle when it was struck, saw the Deville coming and pulled one of the workers out of the way.

O’Malley was headed to 1726 Twilight Court to build a house for Bader Burke and Co.

According to the company’s owner, Tim Crossen, O’Malley underwent kidney dialysis two or three times a week.

Crossen speculated that this may have had something to do with why his employee lost consciousness while driving.

Neighbors gathered around the accident site, which was littered with soda cans, bags of ice, blood and pieces of glass and plastic.

One neighbor, Leora Slocum, of 1703 Montgomery Circle, felt the accident could have been avoided if the city had built more traffic circles on Sundance Drive.

“We’ve been asking for traffic-calming measures for years,” she said. “The speed limit is 25, but it’s a wide, wide street, so people go much faster than that.

“We as a neighborhood have gone to City Council meetings for the last couple years and they haven’t done anything about it,” she added. “I hold the mayor personally responsible for this.”

Ben Ortiz, Longmont’s neighborhood mitigation coordinator, says the city has worked closely with Sundance residents. But residents’ proposal to slow traffic on Sundance by blocking off the street wasn’t workable because of fire access requirements and city traffic ordinances, he said.

“We’ve had accidents on straight streets, curved streets, wide streets and narrow streets,” Ortiz said. “If (O’Malley) truly passed out, it had nothing to do with the geometry or design of the roadway. The reality is that there’s not one thing that’s 100 percent effective.

“Maybe (the driver) may have run into the traffic circle had one been there, but maybe not. It’s just an unfortunate accident and not the mayor nor anyone from the City Council is responsible.”

Sundance Drive has one traffic circle, halfway between Colo. Highway 66 and 17th Avenue. The accident occurred just south of that circle.

Ben Ready can be reached at 303-684-5326, or by e-mail at bready@times-call.com.

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