Colorado Springs police said traffic congestion, the holiday shopping rush and possibly distracted driving were factors in a rash of accidents around the First & Main shopping center.
The first crash -- and the worst -- occurred at about 9:15 a.m. Saturday at the intersection of North Powers Boulevard and North Carefree Circle.
According to a preliminary police report, a car eastbound on Carefree tried to turn left on northbound Powers when it struck a second vehicle. The report showed that the driver of the second vehicle was partially ejected and that the driver may not survive.
Police said each car was occupied only by a driver. Both drivers were taken to hospitals for treatment. Their names and conditions hadn't been released as of late Saturday night.
Police said three more crashes occurred in the area by 1 p.m. Speed and alcohol were not factors in the first crash, police said, but distractions such as texting, talking on phones and talking with passengers are being investigated as contributing to the other crashes.
Police Lt. Cari Graves said drivers also haven't grown accustomed to changes in traffic signals along Powers made by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Graves said several left turn signals at intersections now give drivers a flashing yellow light instead of a solid green light.
"A lot of people don't realize that," she said. "They think it just means caution -- about to turn red -- and that they still have the right of way, and they're turning in front of oncoming traffic without really realizing it, and causing accidents."
Graves said there could be more crashes from now through Christmas Eve if drivers don't slow down and be alert to traffic conditions.
"I think people might be a little bit agitated, a little stressed because of the time of the year, the rush-rush feel," she said. "When you have all of these things playing together, and then you have people who aren't paying attention, who are going too fast, following the car ahead of them too closely, this kind of thing can happen."