DENVER – A crumpled-up pile of metal is all that is left of a Pontiac Vibe after a serious crash at South Colorado Boulevard and East Mexico Avenue on Sunday.
The Vibe was one of two cars that were stopped at a red light at the intersection when police said a black SUV hit them. Witnesses estimated the vehicle was traveling 70 to 80 mph.
“Every time you increase your speed another 10 mph, you’re quadrupling the energy that you’re bringing down the road with you. It’s a simple physics formula and I don’t think a lot of folks have an appreciation for how dangerous that can be,” Denver Police Department Lt. Robert Rock said.
The driver, 55-year-old Semere Dawit, was in police custody at the hospital Monday night under suspicion of driving drunk.
Police said a few minutes before the deadly crash, he was found slumped over in his SUV in a nearby parking lot.
“When he apparently came to, he put his car in gear and he took off driving northbound on Colorado Boulevard,” Rock said.
The two people in the Pontiac Vibe were killed. Anthony Mills, 43, was killed instantly. Jonathan Nichols, 29, died at the hospital. Both men were local musicians.
Mills, known as “Zin,” was an Internet radio host. A GoFundMe account has been set up by Mills’ friend to benefit his family.
Nichols went by the name “Kokayi Danladi” and performed around Denver. Nichols left behind a 13-month-old daughter. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the family.
Two other vehicles were involved in the crash. Five other victims were taken to the hospital. Four have been released, the fifth is in fair condition at the hospital.
Dawit is still in the hospital in serious condition. Police said they are also looking into the possibility that a medical condition may have contributed to the crash.
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