Neighbors speak out after 55th traffic fatality in Colorado Springs Wednesday morning

Neighbors speak out after 55th traffic fatality in Colorado Springs Wednesday morning

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) — Early Wednesday morning, Colorado Springs saw its 55th traffic fatality. This sets a new record for most fatal traffic accidents in the city.

Around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday, crews were called to the 1500 block of North Nevada Avenue and found a car that had crashed into a tree. The male driver was taken to the hospital and the female passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The car was traveling southbound in Nevada when it crossed the median while driving over a curb, then rolled onto its side and struck a tree. The investigation closed both lanes of the road until 7 a.m. The Colorado Springs Police Department believes speed was a factor in the crash.

“It’s frustrating and sad,” CSPD Lt. Steve Noblitt said. “These traffic crashes affect every aspect of our community, every demographic in our community, and they are very preventable.”

Area residents say speeding has been a problem in their neighborhood for several years.

“When I came outside the house and saw what had happened, I thought to myself how blessed we are to have these trees on this street,” said neighbor Joseph Ivanov. “Otherwise this accident and many others would hit home right now and then. I love this neighborhood so much, but within the last 4 years with how many deaths and injuries there have been on this road so close to my home, I’m really rethinking living here.”

As of last week, there have been 713 traffic fatalities in Colorado this year, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. In the southwestern part of the state, CDOT has seen a 10% increase compared to last year in the number of fatal crashes to 156.

“The overriding theme of these crashes in the state is that they are increasing this year,” said CDOT traffic safety communications manager Sam Cole.

CDOT told KRDO more fatal crashes have occurred in El Paso County than any other county in the state.

“In terms of the fatal crashes that we’re seeing in the state, speed, failure to yield and impairment are major contributors to those deaths,” Cole said. “We’re also seeing a big distracted driving problem.”

El Paso County has had 73 fatal crashes so far this year since Dec. 1. This is an increase of 5% compared to last year. About a third of them involved impaired drivers.

“It’s our individual actions when we’re driving that can prevent these types of tragedies,” Noblitt said. “So just encourage people to drive patiently and carefully. Drive the way you want to see other people drive.”

Starting Thursday there will be increased DUI enforcement nationwide through Monday. Including checkpoints and increased patrols in certain areas of the city looking to get impaired drivers off the roads.

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