Saguache News – February 25
Procession for Fallen CDOT Employee on Friday
Next Friday, March 2 residents of the town of Saguache and others located along US Highway (US) 285 throughout the San Luis Valley will notice an honorary processional of highway officials as the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) brings home the remains of fallen employee Nolan Olson from Denver to Pagosa Spring, Colo. Olson lost his life on February 11, after suffering critical injuries from a passing vehicle, which struck him on February 2 while he was filling pot holes on the highway in Pagosa Springs.
Members of the CDOT executive management team and key regional staff will carry Mr. Olson’s ashes from Denver to Pagosa Springs, via US Highway (US) 285, through the San Luis Valley.
“We are very honored that the family is allowing us the privilege of carrying Nolan home to his final resting place,” said Mike McVaugh, CODT Region 5 Transportation Director.
It is expected that fellow CDOT employees will pay their respects as the transport vehicle makes its way south across the state. Maintenance patrols will line their vehicles and equipment at various locations and observation points along the route as an opportunity to bid farewell to their fallen co-worker.
A key stopping point along the route will be in Poncha Springs at the Lincoln Area Maintenance Office. The stop will allow Region 5’s south-central employees the chance to honor their fallen CDOT brother. Once Olson’s remains arrive in South Fork, a formal procession will take place for the final 42 miles of the journey, over US 160 Wolf Creek Pass. The American flag will be displayed at the summit of Wolf Creek as the procession drives over the pass.
From there, Olson’s step-daughter, Archuleta County Undersheriff Tonya Hamilton, along with other family members will await the motorcade on the west side of the pass near Treasure Falls and will then lead the final leg of the procession into Nolan’s hometown of Pagosa Springs.
“My family and I have been dumbstruck at the amount of people that want to be involved in bringing Nolan home and honoring him in this way. It’s truly been astonishing,” said Hamilton. “We haven’t been able to find the words to express our gratitude to everyone. I’m humbled by the outpouring of concern and love.”
Following immediately behind the sheriff’s vehicle will be snowplow #4746, the vehicle which was driven by Nolan while serving the public for 14 years on the Pagosa Springs Patrol 7. Accompanying the memorial motorcade will be local southwest and south-central Colorado CDOT Region 5 employees, driving their trucks and equipment. Local emergency response personnel with the police, sheriff, fire and state patrol are also expected to join in the procession. Community members may pay their respects as the memorial procession makes its way through Olson’s hometown of Pagosa Springs.
Olson’s remains will lay at rest throughout the night on the grounds of Maintenance Patrol 7, until transported to the memorial service the following day. Mr. Olson’s family has arranged a “celebration of life” to take place on Saturday, March 3 at 11 a.m. at the Ross Aragon Community Center of Pagosa Springs.
The expected departure time from Denver will be in the early morning of Friday, March 2. CDOT informs the public that brief traffic delays may occur at highway intersections along the statewide procession route. (see attached map) The journey will take approximately six hours. CDOT urges the public to use caution when the memorial motorcade passes, especially if members of the public wish to pay their respects outside of their vehicles or places of business.