86-year-old drove van wrong way in fatal I-70 head-on crash

AURORA, Colo.  -- A minivan driven by an 86-year-old man was involved in a head-on collision on Interstate 70 east of Tower Road Monday night, the Colorado State Patrol said.

Three people were killed in the crash and another person was transported to the hospital. The crash happened around 7:30 p.m.

CSP said that the 86-year-old Gerald Arnett from Wheat Ridge was driving a 2003 Dodge Caravan westbound on the eastbound lanes of I-70 when it collided head-on with a 2001 Dodge pickup truck.

Arnett and his passenger, Betty Arnett, 96, both died in the crash.

24-year-old Katie Paul, the passenger in the pickup truck, also died on scene, according to state troopers.

24-year-old Kyle Parker of Strasburg, who was driving the Dodge pickup truck, was taken to University Hospital with serious injuries, authorities said.

Parker and the family of Katie Paul issued a statement Tuesday night.

“Katie was a bright light in every single person’s life she touched. We thank everyone for their condolences, continued support and outpouring of love."

Eastbound I-70 was closed at Tower Road during the investigation. The interstate reopened around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.

An investigation to determine the cause of the crash is underway.

Investigators do not believe drugs and alcohol were a factor.