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Deadly stretch of Interstate 25 raises concern

By Scott Harrison
Published On: Feb 19 2013 03:09:01 AM CST

State troopers concerned about serious accidents and fatalities between Colorado Springs and Fountain.

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. -

The Colorado State Patrol is paying attention to a dangerous stretch of Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Fountain.

The concern comes after the second traffic fatality in as many weekends in that area.  Pamela McCollum died in a rollover crash near Mile Marker 134 just after midnight Sunday.  David Collas, 19, was killed in a rollover near Mile Marker 132 a week earlier, although investigators said icy conditions were a factor.  

"Obviously, that's part of a road that we're very interested in," said Sgt. Rick Hoffman of the Patrol.  "Because of our crash picture down there, we try to have a trooper (on patrol) at all times during the day and night."

Hoffman said although it may seem there have been an unusually-high number of serious crashes there, that actually isn't the case.

What the two recent crashes had in common is that both vehicles rolled into the median, and none of the four passengers and drivers involved wore seat belts, according to the Patrol.  Three of the four people were ejected from the vehicles and McCollum was partially ejected. 

However, members of McCollum's family said the Patrol told them a seat belt likely wouldn't have saved her life.

Hoffman said many of the accidents in that area happened in the southbound lanes where the speed limit increases from 65 to 75.  He said that can contribute to crashes for some drivers.

"After driving at 65 through city traffic, you might be (distracted) talking, looking down at the radio or talking on a cell phone," Hoffman said.  "When that happens, people tend to drift to one side of the highway or the other.  At 75 or 80 mph, it's very difficult to correct that.  Some drivers over-correct, and that leads to serious crashes."

Hoffman also cited the bowl-shape of some sections of the median, as a factor in crashes.  Some guardrails have been installed, but Hoffman said guardrails don't prevent all serious crashes, and that guardrails work best when medians are flat.

"The best safety advice is slow down, be alert and always wear your seat belts," said Hoffman.

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