Dana Beales's distracted driving killed tow-truck operator, State Patrol says

Categories: Crime

Big photos, video below.
These days, there are more devices than ever with which to distract ourselves. But taking advantage of them while driving can have fatal consequences.

That appears to be what happened in the case of Martin Braden, a tow-truck operator who was cleaning up an accident alongside a Colorado State Patrol trooper when he was hit and killed. Now, Dana Beales has been formally charged in the crash, with distracted driving being a key part of the accusations against him. Photos, video and details below.

The crash site.
On August 24, according to the CSP, Braden, a Weld County resident, was working an accident on Highway 85, with Trooper Scott Rendfrey helping out by using his cruiser to block traffic so that the tow-truck operator could clean up the scene.

Not that Beales, a 61 year old from Fort Lupton, noticed -- or at least noticed in time. He crashed his 2004 Ford F-250 pickup into Rendfrey's vehicle, creating a chain reaction that struck Braden, whose injuries were so severe that he died before he could be transported to a hospital.

The CSP maintains that visibility shouldn't have been a problem for Beales; it was a clear day and emergency lights on the tow truck and the cruiser were operating properly. But Beales is said to have been speeding -- the estimate is 86 miles per hour in a 65 MPH zone -- and was allegedly "distracted by multiple in-vehicle stimuli immediately prior to the crash."

Martin Braden.
Hence, Beales's booking on a potpourri of charges: vehicular homicide (reckless driving), third-degree assault, two counts of reckless endangerment (2 counts), careless driving caused injury, reckless driving.

Such incidents happen all too often: Note the 2011 arrest of Zachariah Dobler for allegedly hitting and killing a tow-truck driver while drunk. No wonder the CSP offers this piece of advice: "The Colorado State Patrol reminds motorists to move over at least one lane when approaching stationary emergency, road maintenance, and tow vehicles with activated emergency lights. If motorists cannot move over safely, they must slow down and proceed with due care and caution."

Look below to see Beales's booking photo, followed by a 7News report from shortly after the crash.

Dana Beales.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa August 2011: "Zachariah Dobler: Murder charge for running over tow-truck driver at DUI crash while drunk."

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Justin Rodgers
Justin Rodgers

Yup, unfortunately I was the dummy distracted driver. I was young and took my eyes off the road for just a second to look at a "for sale" sign on a car parked along the side of the road. Next thing I know, my little Nissan was planted firmly into the back of a big ole Buick Elecktra. Thank god no one was hurt.


Throw away the key.

Richard Scott Taylor
Richard Scott Taylor

(Her black polyester pants and matching polo shirt with the Tavern emblem on it is the only thing I KNOW she wasn't lying about. No one wears that unless you are going onto a shift....)

Richard Scott Taylor
Richard Scott Taylor

I was hit from behind by a waitress from the Tavern DTC who admitted she was late, on the phone, and putting on makeup. Said she'd have been fired if she was late. Then lied about her identity and insurance, leaving me utterly screwed for my bills. (My insurance is refusing the claim currently based on no police report, as I tried to cut her some slack to get to work on time. No good deed goes unpunished.)

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Yes Jackass on 7th and Lincoln was distracted grabbing his interlock device, rearended Mazda who was pushed into me. Dick

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