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Car accidents: Wrong-way crash leads to fatality

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A serious crash on Interstate 70 has claimed the lives of three people, according to local sources. The Colorado State Patrol responded to the crash on the evening of Dec. 22. As with most car accidents of this severity, the resulting investigation shut down the eastbound side of the interstate for hours while crash reconstruction units determined the cause of the accident. 

According to the preliminary report, a minivan driven by an 86-year-old man somehow entered the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 while traveling westbound. Around 7:30 p.m., the man's vehicle struck a pickup truck head-on, causing catastrophic damage to both vehicles. The driver and his passenger, a 96-year-old woman, were both killed in the impact. 

A 24-year-old female passenger in the pickup truck was declared dead at the scene by arriving medical personnel. The 24-year-old driver of the pickup was badly hurt and rushed to a local hospital with injuries described as severe. His current condition is unknown at this time. Investigators have not yet determined why the older man was going the wrong way on the highway, but they do not believe alcohol or drugs played a role. 

Car accidents can be caused by a number of factors. In this case, no criminal charges will be filed against the elderly driver who contributed most materially to the crash as Colorado does not file such charges posthumously. However,  the families of the deceased passengers as well as the injured driver are entitled under state law to file wrongful death and/or personal injury lawsuits against the driver's estate. These claims are handled in civil court and can make use of the findings of the police investigation to corroborate their story in court. 

Source: kdvr.com, "86-year-old drove van wrong way in fatal I-70 head-on crash", Joe Dahlke, Dec. 26, 2017

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