Colorado trooper who leaped off bridge earns agency’s ‘Purple Heart’ award

DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado State Patrol trooper who likely saved his own life by jumping over a guard rail to avoid an impaired driver was honored with an agency award known as the Purple Heart.

Trooper Kevin Bagley was on the scene of a suspected impaired driving crash at about 4 a.m. on Interstate 270 in Adams County on July 22, 2023. He was at the scene with another trooper, who had arrived in a second patrol vehicle.

The pair were investigating when a driver hit an unoccupied CSP vehicle. The troopers were outside the vehicle and were not injured by the first crash.

However, shortly after, a second vehicle crashed into the other unoccupied CSP vehicle, forcing Bagley to decide on either getting struck by the oncoming car or leaping over a bridge barrier and falling approximately 30 feet down an embankment.

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He chose the second option and ended up with serious injuries.

“It took a few moments before we realized we were missing a trooper on the scene,” said Colorado State Patrol Chief Col. Matthew Packard during a July 24, 2023, press conference.

Colorado State Patrol trooper Kevin Bagley received the agency's Purple Heart award for being injured while on-duty.
Colorado State Patrol trooper Kevin Bagley received the agency's Purple Heart award for being injured while on-duty.

Both drivers were suspected to be driving while under the influence, and both were taken into custody. Troopers had set up cones to ensure the scene’s safety, but impaired drivers did not pay attention and put all the lives of those on scene at risk.

Now, Bagley is the proud recipient of the Colorado State Patrol’s Purple Heart award. Law enforcement Purple Heart awards are typically issued to any law enforcement officers who are injured, wounded or killed in the line of duty. The term is based on the U.S. armed forces’ Purple Heart Medal.

Bagley’s award was announced on CSP‘s social media accounts.

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