Cpl. Dan Groves, the Colorado State Patrol trooper killed during the bomb cyclone blizzard, was laid to rest Thursday. A procession of law enforcement closed parts of Highway 66 and 287 as they escorted Groves to LifeBridge Church in Longmont.
Officers lined the highway and saluted the hearse as it made its way to the memorial service.
Groves’ casket, draped in an American flag, was carried to the front of the chapel by fellow Colorado State Patrol troopers. Hundreds of people filled the pews at the private event. The public was allowed to watch from the Life Care Center across from the church and highway via a livestream.
“Those who enter this line of work understand the risks related to this profession,” said Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Dan knew what was on the line. And it’s that he knew that, makes the decisions that he made that much more noble.”
Cpl. Groves was helping a driver who had slid off I-76 in Weld County when he was struck by another driver who lost control of their vehicle in the March 13 snowstorm. Packard spoke about the fallen patrolman’s love and commitment to his job, and to serving Colorado.
“The reason Dan is not here today can never be acceptable,” Packard said. “We must learn from Dan’s sacrifice.”
Groves was the fourth Colorado trooper killed in the last five years. Packard asked those in attendance and those watching the service to understand what’s at stake when you’re holding the keys to a vehicle.
“Let us prevent future tragedy like what Dan’s friends and families are navigating through today,” he said.
Gov. Jared Polis spoke at the service, along with college and police academy friends of Groves and his colleagues. Each shared stories of his life and his fierce loyalty to family and loved ones.
Capt. Dan Haley, Groves’ academy roommate, said the trooper was “the first one to buy you a beer. And another one. And another one. But then, he was also the one who always made sure you got home safe.”
Groves, he said, would go “out there every day and lead from the front, trying to be an example.”
According to Groves’ obituary, he’s survived by his parents, his partner of more than two years, Eddie Gomez, his four siblings and a group of nieces and nephews. Groves joined the Colorado State Patrol in 2007.
The investigation into the crash that killed Groves is ongoing. No charges have been filed against the driver that struck him.
Donations can be made to the Colorado State Patrol Family Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families of fallen and injured troopers.