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Miller moths blamed for fiery crash

5:31 PM, May 2, 2012   |    comments
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A Colorado Springs high school senior had to be pulled from her burning SUV on Tuesday after veering off the road. She says miller moths distracted her.

The crash happened at the 7800 block of Lexington Drive. The 18-year-old teen says Miller moths distracted her to the point she lost control of her SUV, and crashed right into a tree.

Witnesses of the crash in north Colorado Springs took video of the flames engulfing an SUV, and posted it on YouTube.

"Holy smokes," a man can be heard saying in the video.

Her SUV ruptured a gas line, but before it was engulfed in flames, two witnesses of the crash rescued the teen.

"Passersby of another vehicle stopped and were able to get her out of her vehicle, through a broken window, so it's fortunate she didn't receive and serious injuries," Larry Herbert, spokesman for Colorado Springs Police, said.

"The police lights were here for nearly three hours," Calu Ostrander, who lives near the crash site, said.

Ostrander isn't surprised miller moths caused the young woman to crash.

"I feel like the moth thing is an epidemic right now, we've got like a plague," Ostrander said.

Miller moths have migrated to the Front Range early this year due to an unusually mild winter.

"I open my microwave in the morning and there's like four or five of them in there, they're in our windows they're swarming around our room at night when we have our lights on," Ostrander said.

"We do know they're here so we need to be prepared and not overreact or become overly distracted in case we do encounter something like that," Herbert said.

Students at nearby Rampart High School say the victim is a senior there. Her injuries weren't serious enough to require a trip to the hospital.

"I'm so thankful that she was OK and able to pull out of it," Ostrander said.

Investigators have ruled out alcohol or drugs being involved in this crash.

A Miller moth expert at Colorado State University says the moths will be around for a few more weeks. He says we might get another round of miller moths by the summer, when they start to hatch in Denver.

(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)

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