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News 5 Investigates: Colorado Springs deadly crashes

COLORADO SPRINGS- Coming off the deadliest year on Colorado Springs roads in the city’s history crash investigators say we are already on pace to set a new record for deadly crashes in the city in 2019. Last year we saw a record number of traffic deaths in Colorado Springs, 48. Here is how those crashes breakdown, 23 killed in vehicle crashes, 13 pedestrians killed, 8 killed on motorcycles and 4 people killed on bikes. One of the most alarming stats for investigators is the fact these crashes are happening at all hours of the day. 14 in they daytime, 13 in the evening, and 21 overnight. These numbers show why we need to slow down and pay attention as we drive and even walk around town.

“It’s carnage. It’s the worst of the worst,” said Sergeant Jim Stinson of the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Major Accidents Unit. “Holding people’s bloody hands and telling people their children are dead. I mean these are the kind of things cops don’t like doing.”

Sergeant Stinson and his group of detectives make up the major accidents unit, tasked with working the most devastating crash scenes in the city.

“Poor driving decisions lead to death,” said Sgt. Stinson.

His department was called out 104 times in 2018 to investigate the damage left behind in fatal and felony crashes. A record 48 of those crashes were deadly

“It’s one of those things the community has to get sick of,” said Sgt. Stinson.

The city also tied a record. 13 pedestrians were killed in crashes. Investigators say 11 of those pedestrians were at fault.

“This is not like Hollywood where you get hit by the car, hit the winshield roll off and get up and walk away. That’s just not true,” said Sgt. Stinson.

Using grant money Colorado Springs police officers work overtime targeting drivers committing traffic violations in the final months of 2018.

“We can’t keep having people die and die on the road,” said Colorado Springs Police Department Traffic Officer Dale Peterson. “For the City of Colorado Springs, we are hitting the enforcement hard and don’t expect a break when you get pulled over,”

In 2018 CSPD wrote 38,848 traffic tickets. The Colorado Springs Municipal Court tells News 5 Investigates in December alone drivers paid nearly $280,000 in traffic fines. In 2019, investigators say the dangers on our roads continue to be a problem.

“So far this year we’re averaging a death a week. So at this pace we are going to break the record again,” said Sgt. Stinson.

As the CSPD major accidents unit remains busy. Its leader fears more lives will be lost this year if we don’t make an effort to be safer on the roads.

“There’s so many distractions and until we take accountability and responsibility for our own actions we’re going to keep killing people,” said Sgt. Stinson.

The dangers leading to deadly crashes stretch beyond Colorado Springs. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation in El Paso County 80 people were killed in 74 crashes in 2018. 24 of those crashes involved someone who was impaired. In Pueblo County 35 people were killed in 33 crashes 15 crashes involved someone who was impaired.

Patrick Nelson

Patrick Nelson

Patrick Nelson is an investigative reporter for News 5 in Colorado Springs.
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