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Trooper Arrested for DUI Speaks Up About PTSD

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Don't drink and driveDavid Dolan of Colorado Springs was let go from the Colorado State Patrol after he pleaded guilty to a drunk-driving charge stemming from an incident last March. Dolan was picked up with a blood alcohol content of .194. The state’s DUI limit is .08, less than half that much. Dolan served a 10-day sentence in jail after completing in-patient treatment at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. The  treatment he received was for both alcoholism and PTSD.

Jase Larsen, an investigative reporter for 9 News, brings us the details of the incident:

At 6:57 a.m. on March 22, several 911 callers reported a CSP vehicle weaving in and out of traffic near C-470 and South University Boulevard. CSP asked the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to stop the vehicle and check the officer’s welfare.

A deputy pulled Dolan over near C-470 and Interstate 25.

Dolan says he doesn’t remember much about his arrest. He doesn’t remember the deputy’s emergency lights turning on behind him.

Dolan’s arrest record says he couldn’t keep his balance when officers gave him a sobriety test alongside the road. A deputy said he could smell alcohol coming from inside the patrol vehicle.

It is extremely fortunate that Dolan was not involved in an actual accident before his DUI arrest. Recent statements of his indicate that he has indicated PTSD as the root cause of his behavior.

In another piece on 9 News (also by Jace Larson), the former officer is quoted as saying:

‘For me it was sleeplessness, withdrawing, becoming non-communicative, nightmares, flashbacks and just general depression,’ said David Dolan, a former Colorado State Patrol trooper who has been diagnosed with PTSD after serving six and a half years on the state’s accident reconstruction team. […]

He says, when he wasn’t able to cope with flashbacks to graphic car accidents and wasn’t able to sleep, he started drinking.

Sadly, as a former New Orleans resident, I have become all too familiar with PTSD in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It affected the vast majority of those who have stayed through the storm and levee failure as well as those who came back soon after to rebuild. I’ve seen people suddenly spiral out of control as their alcohol intake spiked, or the nightmares became too much to handle. Considering Dolan’s years cleaning up after the types of accidents I write about here it is hardly shocking that the repetitive exposure to such ghastliness would cause PTSD.

When we get on the road, we need to be engaged, alert, and sober. It’s worth taking a closer look at your state of mind if you have been traumatized, recently shaken up, or are suffering from depression. It only takes one phone call to get a friend to drive you.

Image by Mike “Dakinewavamon”  Kline, used under its Creative Commons license.


My daughter and I first consulted with Dan Rosen after a very serious auto accident. Dan had several phone conferences with me, and Tracie was available whenever I called. We would recommend personal injury attorney Dan Rosen to anyone!
Sally from Denver, Colorado

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