Most of us have no reason to remember mile markers 176 and 179.3 on Interstate 25 south of Castle Rock. For two families, that stretch of interstate is marked by miles and loss.
“We’re here today to honor two beautiful families that have suffered a lot of tragedy in the last 20 months,” Captain Jeff Goodwin said.
Goodwin spoke to the crowd gathered on the frontage road near mile marker 176.
“We’re talking about Trooper Jaimie Jursevics’ family and Trooper Cody Donahue’s family,” he said.
On Saturday morning, Trooper Jaimie Jursevics and Trooper Cody Donahue were honored with memorial signs placed alongside the interstate. Jursevics was killed the night of Nov. 15, 2015. She had stopped her patrol car on the shoulder of the interstate south of Castle Rock to help protect the scene of a crash.
That’s when she received the report of a possible drunk driver headed in her direction. Jursevics tried to flag down the driver, but she was struck and killed.
“She lost her life in the line of duty trying to stop that person and keep him from killing other Coloradans,” Captain Goodwin said.
On Nov. 25, 2016, Trooper Cody Donahue was struck and killed while investigating a wreck on I-25 near mile marker 179.3. The driver who hit him failed to move over to the other lane. On Saturday, Trooper Donahue’s wife, Velma, brought along her two daughters to see the unveiling of the memorial signs.
“My kids haven’t been up there,” she said. “They’re having a hard time today.”
Velma said she hopes drivers notice the signs for her husband and Trooper Jaimie Jursevics.
“I want them to think about my two little girls who will never see their dad again, and just remember that any small inconvenience you go through to move over or slow down is really nothing compared to what they have to live with the rest of their lives,” she said.
In June, Gov. Hickenlooper signed a bill dubbed the “Move Over for Cody Act.” The law strengthens penalties against drivers who fail to move over and slow down for first responders on the road.
“We were honored in the state house and the state senate to pass this legislation unanimously,” said State Senator Chris Holbert.
Holbert and Rep. Polly Lawrence joined members of the Colorado State Patrol for the unveiling of the memorial signs. They reiterated the importance of moving over for law enforcement.
“Let’s make sure moms and dads get home to see their families,” Holbert said.
While many will forget the mile markers, there’s reason to remember the names posted on memorial signs beside the interstate.
“I want [drivers] to remember that somebody gave their life right there to protect others,” Velma Donahue said.