Driver charged in Colorado Highway 6 crash that killed 2 in Dillon
DILLON — The driver who allegedly caused a fatal accident on Colorado Highway 6 in Dillon this fall has been charged with a number of misdemeanors, according to the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
On Monday morning, District Attorney Bruce Brown said a summons had been issued for 24-year-old Adrian Delgado of Aurora, who officials believe drifted into oncoming traffic on the highway, causing the deaths of 58-year-old Larry Kennedy and 59-year-old Ronnie Suenram.
At about 6:50 a.m. on Oct. 3, police and emergency medical crews responded to reports of a head-on crash on Highway 6 near the intersection with Elkhorn Street. First responders noticed heavy damage on the vehicles: Delgado’s Dodge Ram 2500 and the Ford F150 he hit.
There were seven people involved in the crash — three in Delgado’s truck and four in the other, two of whom died. Kennedy, who was driving, was pronounced dead on scene. Suenram was initially transported to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco with the passengers and Delgado, but she later died. Both of the people who were killed were from Oklahoma.
As Summit Fire personnel began to extricate the people from the trucks and provide medical treatment, police began the initial investigation into the crash. According to the report, police followed the eastbound path of travel for Delgado’s truck and observed that the tire tracks crossed over the median into the westbound lane. There were gouges in the asphalt where the vehicles collided.
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Officers also collected statements from witnesses. One witness said they saw Delgado’s truck drive into oncoming traffic before he parked his car and called 911 to report the accident. Another witness reported hearing Delgado yelling for help from the driver’s seat before trying to help him out of the vehicle, but his legs were pinned inside.
Both passengers in Delgado’s truck said they didn’t see how the crash happened, with one saying he was on his cellphone and the other saying he was asleep until the crash.
Though officers reported there weren’t any signs of alcohol or drug consumption, a blood test was taken at the hospital before Delgado went into surgery for his injuries. It’s not believed that he was inebriated at the time of the crash.
Speed might have been a factor in the crash, however. In November, investigators received a summary from the vehicles’ data recorders — internal devices that record technical data in the seconds leading up to a crash. The report noted that Delgado was speeding at the time of the crash, going 69 mph five seconds prior to the collision and slowing down to 53 mph at the time of impact. The other vehicle was going the speed limit, 50 mph, and was able to slow to 43 mph before impact.
Delgado has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor careless driving resulting in death and four counts of misdemeanor careless driving causing injury, according to District Attorney Bruce Brown. Brown noted that his office weighed carefully whether Delgado’s behavior leading up to the crash should be considered careless or reckless, a more severe crime characterized by a blatant disregard for safety, but he ultimately landed on the less serious charge.
“In the end, what we believe is that (Delgado) crossed over the center dividing line and entered into oncoming traffic, and that he was the cause of the collision,” Brown said. “From the standpoint of why he crossed over the line, we just believe it was driver error akin to a typical traffic offense that one would get a ticket for. … That was the key question, because so many people were injured or killed, but in our opinion the behavior was only determined to be careless.”
Still, Brown noted there potentially could be a considerable punishment if Delgado is convicted. Each careless driving resulting in death charge carries a maximum punishment of one year in jail, and each careless driving resulting in injury charge carries a max penalty of 90 days in jail. Neither charge comes with mandatory jail time, according to Brown.
Brown said Delgado likely would make his first appearance in court in February.
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