Colorado Driver Indicted in Fatal Road Rage Crash
A Colorado man has been charged with murder stemming from a fatal collision in which prosecutors say he purposely slammed his pickup truck into another vehicle.
Two people were killed in the May crash, in which the man’s truck collided with another vehicle and sent it into oncoming traffic. A driver and passenger in the first vehicle struck died. That car also collided with two other vehicles, leaving the driver of one of those cars seriously injured.
The indicted driver, a 54-year-old Longmont resident, showed “malice” and “extreme indifference to the value of human life” in the collision, Boulder County prosecutors said. He faces charges of first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, leaving the scene of an accident, two counts of vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence.
The tragedy reportedly was the result of a road rage incident that occurred on a Friday evening on Highway 287 just south of the Larimer-Boulder county line between Berthoud and Longmont.
The indicted man, driving a maroon Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, got into an argument on the road with two men in a Chevrolet Camaro, CBS Colorado reports. They exchanged words, with the man getting out of his car at one point. The Camaro eventually drove off normally, but the pickup pursued. The truck got up to 100 miles per hour, according to witnesses and camera footage.
The pickup driver “tailgated, swerved around, brake-checked and swiped the Camaro,” CBS Colorado reports. “He eventually hit them during a ‘sudden jerk’ into the Camaro, a witness told police. Several witnesses described [the driver’s] move as a ‘PIT’ maneuver, similar to what police will use to stop cars.”
The driver sped off after the crash. When he was eventually tracked down by police, who used traffic camera footage to get the pickup’s license plate number, he denied being involved in the crash. He also removed his license plate from the vehicle after being contacted by investigators, according to the CBS News report. He changed his story multiple times after being presented with additional evidence, cops said.
“Investigative information is consistent with the driver of another motor vehicle intentionally colliding with the decedent’s motor vehicle, leading to the motor vehicle crash and subsequent lethal injuries,” the Boulder County Coroner’s Office concluded in a report.
Court records show that the indicted man has an extensive criminal history, according to CBS News. He has at least 16 charges or convictions on his record, including convictions for theft, burglary and several traffic-related offenses.
Road Rage on the Rise in Colorado
The tragic crash highlights an alarming trend across Colorado: road rage and aggressive driving are becoming more common.
Nearly 32,000 incidents of road rage were reported statewide last year, according to data compiled by the Colorado State Patrol. That is up about 5 percent from a year earlier, the CSP figures show.
“What we’re seeing is people are more willing to use violence against somebody else,” Aurora Police Division Chief Jad Lanigan told CBS Colorado in June. “We’re seeing younger and younger suspects committing crimes these days.”
Lanigan’s comments came in the wake of the fatal shooting of a 47-year-old man in Aurora. The man reportedly was shot by a teenager after getting out of his vehicle to confront a reckless driver.
El Paso County saw the highest number of reported road rage incidents (1,708) last year, followed by Jefferson (1,393) and Douglas (769). Weld (759) and Fremont (732) counties were also in the top five.
Injured in a Colorado Car Accident? Know Your Rights
Anyone who is injured in a car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the collision. That is true regardless of whether you are injured in a road rage situation or any other type of crash.
The compensation typically available in Colorado car accident cases includes money for medical bills, property damage, missed wages and other financial consequences of the collision. Additionally, punitive damages may also be awarded in some situations to punish particularly reckless behavior.
In the tragic event that a person is killed in a car crash, certain family members also have the right to pursue a wrongful death case. Wrongful death claims help families address some of the financial stress that often comes with losing a loved one.
To obtain compensation after a car crash, you generally have to be able to prove negligence. This legal theory holds people and entities responsible when they do not live up to certain responsibilities, or what courts and lawyers call a “duty of care.”
State law requires drivers in Colorado to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner, for example. That means complying with traffic laws and refraining from dangerous activity behind the wheel, like drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel.
A driver who does not live up to this responsibility and causes a crash as a result is likely to be liable for any injuries and other damage stemming from the accident. Drivers who cause accidents related to road rage or aggressiveness also face potential criminal prosecution.
There is some good news if you have been injured in a car crash in Colorado. You do not need to go it alone.
An experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at our firm can help you identify those responsible for the crash, prove their liability and maximize your compensation. Our track record of success includes a number of six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts.
Speak with a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run or other crash in Colorado, a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help you take action. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.
We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.