DENVER (KDVR) — The second Colorado law enforcement officer in as many weeks was killed in a grim highlight of the state’s increased traffic danger.
A 24-year-old sheriff’s deputy was killed Sunday in a hit-and-run crash with a person living in the country illegally, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office said.
Colorado State Patrol is leading the investigation into the circumstances of the crash, assisted by the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers confirmed the driver of the vehicle was Octavio Gonzalez-Garcia. He is 37 or 38 years old and residing in the U.S. illegally, according to evidence found of an apparently falsified green card and fake Social Security card recovered from his car.
The crash underscores issues with reckless and impaired driving the Colorado State Patrol has been trying to get the public to understand in 2022. Aggressive driving, extreme speeding and impairment are all major issues.
There were more fatal crashes in Colorado in any year in the last 20 except 2002. Numbers had been dropping since 2017 but spiked in 2020.
Through the first half of 2022, 21.6% of fatal crashes were caused by a driver traveling outside of their designated lane, and 18% were caused by a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Nationally, in fact, Colorado is one of the states with the most heavily-impaired drivers.
Colorado has one of the nation’s highest rates of drunken driving, according to an analysis of enforcement data by insurance company QuoteWizard.
Colorado has the nation’s 11th-highest rate, with 50 DUIs per every 10,000 people. In other words, one in 500 drivers in the state has been issued a DUI at some point.