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Car accidents: 1 dead in suspected drunk driving collision

Patricia M. Jarzobski

A woman from Rifle is dead following a collision with a driver believed to have been drunk behind the wheel, according to local sources. Colorado authorities responded to the two-car crash that occurred the night of Sept. 28 on Interstate 70. With the suspected driver dead at the scene, no criminal charges will be filed, but as with many car accidents causing fatalities, other legal recourse may be available to the grieving family. 

According to the report, a 55-year-old man believed to have been drinking and driving was headed eastbound on I-70 outside of New Castle when he appeared to lose control of his vehicle. The car crashed into a guard rail and then ran through the median, colliding with a westbound vehicle driven by a 36-year-old loan officer. The woman was rushed to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead some time later. 

The male driver was also declared dead at the scene by arriving medical personnel. Whether he was drunk has not been corroborated yet, but an autopsy will be performed to verify this suspicion as well as the cause of death. Speed was not considered a factor in the crash, and thankfully, no other vehicles were involved. 

In car accidents causing fatalities, responsible parties usually face criminal charges. However, no such charges are filed posthumously, so the family of the victim may choose to enter a wrongful death lawsuit in a Colorado civil court. The suit would name the deceased driver's estate as defendant in such a suit, and if evidence of drunk driving is presented, the court may choose to award damages to the grieving family of the deceased woman. 

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