KRDO Breaking News

Victims in U.S. 24 crash identified

Drivers of two cars die in head-on crash Tuesday

Safety of U.S. 24 between Colorado...

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - The Colorado State Patrol has identified the two men killed in Tuesday morning's head-on crash involving two vehicles on U.S. 24 near Peyton.

Troopers said Wesley Free, 23, of Fountain, was westbound in a Jeep Cherokee when he crossed the center line and struck a Chrysler Crossfire driven by Robert Hicok, 82, of Colorado Springs.

Hicok died at the scene, troopers said, and Free died after being airlifted to Memorial Hospital.

Although earlier information estimated the time of the accident to be just before 2 a.m. Tuesday, troopers said the exact time of the crash is unknown.

Troopers also said alcohol was a factor in the crash but did not specify which driver is suspected of drinking alcohol.

The accident happened west of Peyton and closed the highway in both directions until around 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

"I saw all the cars detouring through our neighborhood and wondered what was going on," said a woman who lives on nearby Tracy Lane.

Randy Clibon, a neighbor, said he's worried about the danger on the 30-mile stretch of the highway between Colorado Springs and Calhan.

"I think I hear a crash once a week," he said.  "It wasn't like that when I moved here in 2012.  Lately, it seems to be getting worse."

Clibon said that on the primarily narrow, two-lane stretch, high speeds and big trucks are what concern him.

According to statistics from the Colorado Department of Transportation, there were 166 crashes on 19 miles of that stretch between January 2011 and December 2015.

Two of the crashes resulted in deaths, 107 happened during the day and 137 were on dry roads.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 is awaiting a response from CDOT about why the area has had so many accidents, and on possible measures to improve safety.

Cpl. J.R. Benavides of the Colorado State Patrol discussed the situation.

"The crashes aren't typical," he said.  "There's no specific rhyme or reason that we're aware of."

Clibon said he'd like to see street lights along the highway and more lanes added.

"I think it needs to be widened to Limon, truthfully," he said.

Troopers said the crash remains under investigation.


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