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Police cite speed, alcohol and recklessness in teen car crash

Police cite speed, alcohol and recklessness in teen car cras

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Police said speed, alcohol and recklessness sent three teens to the hospital Thursday morning.

The 17-year-old driver was driving east on Woodmen Road near Buckeye Drive at 4:30 a.m. when he swerved. He took out a light pole and hit a retaining wall. The car rolled several times sending debris across the two lane road. The car came to a stop 300 feet down the road.

The 17-year-old driver, the 16-year-old passenger and 18-year-old passenger were sent to the hospital. Another passenger was initially reported missing. Police found the teen at his home. He had minor injuries and did not go to the hospital.

Seventeen-year-old Mikey Smith visited the crash site Thursday morning with one of the vehicle's passengers released from the hospital. He said it was difficult to see the totaled car knowing his best friends were in it.

"How is anyone alive from it? You know, it's totally, that is a messed up car," said Mikey.

Smith said his stomach dropped when he got an early-morning phone call alerting him about the crash. He visited his three friends in the hospital. Colorado Springs police said one teen had serious bodily harm but wouldn't elaborate on the extent of his condition. He said one teen had serious injuries to his hand. He said the other teens were doing "OK."

"It was difficult to see [my friend], especially all of them going in to the hospital and seeing all of them in the rooms," said Smith.

Colorado Springs police said the teen was speeding. Lt. Brian Ritz and his Major Accidents Unit team spent five hours investigating the crash site. Ritz said the teen had also been drinking. He said there would be tests run to figure out how much alcohol was in the teen's body. The driver could face vehicular assault charges,

"He not only jeopardized his life, he jeopardized the life of three of his friends," said Ritz.

The 18-year-old passenger recently graduated from Air Academy High School. The other two teens hospitalized are currently Air Academy students.

Nikole Podlacha is the teens' classmate at Air Academy High School.  The car crashed in front of her house. She woke up to sounds of the car flipping and scrapping across the asphalt.

"Seeing stuff like that, it kind of makes you think twice. And then, you wonder, why were they going at that high of a speed and why were they willing to put their life at risk?," said Podlacha.

Smith said he wants to make sure his friends never get the same phone call.

"It definitely shows me that, I need to be more careful because I don't want this to ever happen again," said Smith. "All of us are in shock."


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