Suspect identified in fatal Colorado Highway 9 crash near Blue River
FRISCO — The suspect involved in a fatal crash on Colorado Highway 9 that killed two Summit County residents last week has been identified as 31-year-old Lindsey Leigh Ward, according to the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
On the evening of Friday, Aug 30, a pair of Summit County residents identified as Benjamin Mitton and Nichole Gough were killed after a suspected drunken driver veered into the wrong lane, causing a head-on collision.
At about 5:24 p.m., troopers with the Colorado State Patrol were dispatched to a report of a double rollover on Highway 9 at mile marker 84, just north of Blue River, according to a warrantless arrest probable cause statement.
Emergency medical personnel were already on scene when troopers arrived, and both Mitton and Gough had already been pronounced deceased. Troopers also noted a black jeep flipped on its passenger side at the location of the crash.
According to the affidavit, multiple witnesses on scene stated they saw a white Subaru, Ward’s vehicle, driving southbound before losing control and hitting the other car heading northbound. Ward’s vehicle continued a little further south before going down a steep embankment.
Ward was taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center for treatment. At the hospital, troopers attempted to run Ward through voluntary roadside maneuvers but reported that she struggled to follow instructions, was unstable on her feet and needed to hold her arms out to avoid falling over. Ward also agreed to blood testing, and three blood draws were performed just after 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Ward was later cleared for discharge and booked into the Summit County Jail that night on two counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and a lane usage violation. She posted bond in the amount of $15,000 on Tuesday under the conditions she doesn’t use alcohol or drugs, or drive without a valid driver’s license and that she be subject to random drug and alcohol testing, according to District Attorney Bruce Brown.
Brown said his office has not yet brought any charges against Ward and is waiting for more information to come out of the investigation. Brown noted that the Colorado State Patrol has handed over part of the investigation to its Vehicular Crimes Unit and that there might be evidence at the scene of the crash that could help reconstruct what happened on the night in question. The results of the blood tests, analyzed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, are expected to take “several weeks” before being completed.
“We want to make an informed decision to what, if any, charges are filed until more information comes out of the investigation,” Brown said. “It won’t be limited to a few days. This case is getting a high priority from our office and Colorado State Patrol, and we’ll make sure a thorough investigation occurs.”
Ward is scheduled to make an appearance on bond at the Summit County Justice Center on Oct. 9.
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