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Amber Alert

Monday, March 17, 2008

Two Elbert County dispatchers die in wreck

Two men who died in a multivehicle traffic accident near Calhan on Sunday worked for Elbert County as dispatchers and were heading home after finishing a shift.

"The staff is very subdued," said Steve West, director of communications for Elbert County. "Right now, everybody is actually still trying to come to terms with this."

Killed in the accident were Todd Sielaff, a 45-year-old shift supervisor who has been with Elbert County for five years, and Richard "Joe" Rockwell, 57, a retired Army veteran who started as a dispatcher in December.

West described both men as "professionals" who were dedicated to public service.

Sielaff is survived by a wife and three daughters, one whom is in college, West said.

Both men, from Simla, were heading home in separate vehicles when the accident happened at about 2:30 p.m. on U.S. 24.

Fog and limited visibility may have contributed to the crash, according to the Colorado State Patrol.

A pickup driver trying to pass at least one other vehicle while heading east got clipped by a westbound semi, trooper Gilbert Mares said. The semi then hit three other eastbound vehicles, killing the two men, Mares said.

The pickup driver, Donald Massmann, 38, was arrested on suspicion of driving too fast for the foggy conditions, Mares said.

West said Sielaff and Rockwell were in the last two vehicles that were hit. Another driver, 48-year-old Terry Jaques of Limon, was not hurt.

The tractor-trailer driver, 51-year-old Stanley Strock of Wooster, Ohio, also was not hurt.

Source Continues