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9 people have died on Colorado highways since Christmas Eve

Colorado State Patrol Chief Matthew Packard called all the deaths preventable and blamed selfish driving for the spate of fatalities across the state since Christmas Eve.
Credit: Bryan Wendland
Two women were killed on Christmas Eve when one car drove across the median on I-70 near Genesee and crashed into an oncoming car.

Nine people have been killed in traffic crashes on Colorado's highways since Christmas Eve. The crashes have happened all across the state, at different times of day and across every demographic, according to Chief Matthew Packard with the Colorado State Patrol.

Packard and the various CSP accounts across the state have shared a message urging Colorado drivers to stop driving selfishly - to get home safe and alive. 

"We have to be better, Colorado," he said in an address to all Colorado drivers posted to YouTube. "Step up, be better - let's save lives in Colorado."

The first wreck over this stretch happened late Christmas Eve night on Interstate 70 near Genessee. A 62-year-old woman who was believed to be drunk and high driving a Chevy Silverado crossed over from the eastbound lanes into the westbound lanes and struck a Chevy Suburban, CSP said. The 62-year-old woman and a 38-year-old in the Suburban lost their lives. A 6-year-old child who was in the Suburban is in serious condition at Children's Hospital.

RELATED: 2 women killed, 6-year-old seriously injured in I-70 Christmas Eve wreck

The second wreck happened on Dec. 26 in Eagle County along I-70 - one person lost their life. The third wreck happened on Highway 160, according to Trooper Gary Cutler with CSP. He said the victim did not pass away until Thursday.

The fourth wreck happened early Thursday morning. A vehicle struck a pedestrian near Canon City, Cutler said. The fifth wreck happened near Monument on Highway 105 where two people lost their lives. 

Also on Thursday, a semi versus car crash shut down Highway 14 in Weld County. One person lost their life in that crash, Cutler said. The seventh wreck happened in the early morning hours in La Plata County on Thursday; one person died.

Since the start of 2018, 600 people have died on Colorado roadways. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, 648 people died in 2017, 608 died in 2016, and 547 died in 2015.

Chief Packard with CSP called what's happened on Colorado roads this year an epidemic and pleaded with Colorado drivers to stay alive.

"600 lives lost on Colorado roadways - that's simply not acceptable," he said. "This is an epidemic that has to stop right now. That responsibility lies in my hands and your hands - together. We are the only solution to this."

He said the investigation into each of the wrecks is still early, but they know these crashes aren't specific to any one place, time of day or demographic.

Packard did say there was one thing that tied them all together, however.

"Selfish driving caused each one of these crashes. Inattentive, impairment - just not paying attention, making bad passes, driving carelessly," he said. "These are all preventable and that's the one common component."

He said that people who get into a car are taking on all the responsibility that entails. 

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