JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — Nearly 50 days after a motorcyclist collided with a pickup truck, documents obtained by 9NEWS are revealing more about the complicated investigation into the fatal crash that occurred near the West Columbine neighborhood.
Josh Smith, 27, died on Aug. 6 after he crashed his motorcycle into a Chevy Silverado driven by Denver police Officer Haley Phillips.
Phillips was off duty at the time of the crash.
The crash occurred at Wadsworth Boulevard and Peakview Drive just after 5 p.m., according to a crash report.
The crash report indicates the investigating officer with the Colorado State Patrol noted, based on his opinion, Phillips made an “improper turn” during a flashing yellow light at the intersection.
Smith crashed his motorcycle into the truck as he was headed northbound on Wadsworth. Phillips was making a left turn from southbound Wadsworth onto eastbound Peakview Drive.
Complicating who is exactly at fault are the drugs and alcohol found in Smith’s system when he was killed. An autopsy report reveals low levels of meth, marijuana and alcohol were detected in his system.
An outside criminal defense expert and a former pathologist who are not part of the official investigation examined the autopsy report for 9NEWS. The two experts agreed the levels of narcotics and alcohol were “low,” and not high enough to reach the legal threshold of impairment.
However, the criminal defense expert told 9NEWS he believed the combination of drugs and alcohol may have potentially impaired Smith.
A spokesperson for Colorado State Patrol told 9NEWS such investigations can take months, and their case is still pending. Once the CSP investigation is completed, the agency spokesperson said, a case will be turned over to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office for review.
Smith’s sister indicated over text messages to 9NEWS that her family has become frustrated because of a lack of answers from agencies involved in the case. She was unavailable for an interview on Thursday.
In an email, the Denver Police Department said it did not launch an internal affairs investigation into Phillips because “she was not cited as the at-fault driver” in the case.
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