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Family of elderly couple killed in crash involving deputy speaks out

EL PASO COUNTY – The family of an elderly couple killed in a car crash involving an El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy is speaking out for the first time.

When Dorothy and Kenneth Wuerfele’s three daughters and son first found out about the crash — it was a huge shock for them and they weren’t ready to talk. But now that a couple of months have passed, they’re saying they’re speaking out so that no family has to go through this again.

“When you lose both parents on the same day at the same time, I can’t say anything to anybody to prepare them for that day,” Jenny Thompson said of the day she found out her parents were gone.

“We are devastated by the loss of our parents, it was sudden, unexpected and unnecessary tragedy,” she said as she read a prepared statement.

“It was very, very difficult for all of us that were so close to them,” added neighbor Lynn Ralston.

The Wuerfeles were having a night out the day before Dorothy’s 72nd birthday. Thompson even kept the handwritten note from her father with the movie reservation.

Colorado State Patrol reports that at 1:24 in the afternoon that day, the Wuerfeles collided head-on with a dump truck after it swerved to avoid El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputy Quinlan Linebaugh.

The deputy was heading westbound on Highway 24 when he went into the eastbound lanes, coming face-to-face with the dump truck. State Patrol says the truck driver fishtailed into oncoming traffic when the couple’s car hit head-on.

Prosecutors charged deputy Quinlan Linebaugh with two counts of careless driving causing death and two counts of careless driving causing bodily injury. All of those charges are misdemeanors.

On Wednesday, the family released balloons in the couple’s favorite colors: red and purple. “As we release these balloons, we are releasing our hearts as well,” said pastor Jim Dmig.

“Mom and dad, we will fight till the end,” Thompson said as she let go of the balloons.

And even though their parents are no longer around, Thompson and her siblings feel some sense of comfort in knowing their parents left the same way they lived: side-by-side.

“That is the only good thing that came out of this,” she said. “They did everything together and they went together.”

The family plans to attend Linebaugh’s court appearance Thursday and News 5 will also have a crew there. We will bring you the latest updates on this court case on-air and online.

Jessica Barreto

Jessica Barreto

Jessica is a general assignment reporter at KOAA News 5. She joined the news team in November 2017.
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