DENVER — A deadly crash in an HOV lane of Interstate 25 north of downtown Denver that left two people dead might have involved alcohol, the Colorado State Patrol said.
It happened about 6 p.m. Saturday when a wrong-way driver barreled into oncoming traffic.
Colorado State Patrol troopers said the driver, a 24-year-old woman, somehow made her way onto the southbound HOV lanes at 70th Avenue.
The early evening crash in the HOV lane of I-25 near 58th Avenue slowed traffic for miles.
The driver crashed and lost control after hitting a northbound car. That vehicle then hit another car. Three cars were involved. Two people were killed and three were injured.
At the time of the crash, the HOV lanes were open for northbound traffic.
Signs designate which direction traffic is flowing. Barricades and barrels shut off traffic to keep drivers from going in the wrong direction.
Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman Amy Ford said the signage usually works.
“It’s something that typically is unusual, especially because of the barricades there,” Ford said. “They are enough of a deterrent even for someone who might be impaired.”
CDOT said the barricades were intact.
Investigators believe an unusual awkward turn was made off 70th Avenue into an exit ramp despite the warning signs.
“They would have had to made a maneuver, a turning maneuver that to the nonimpaired driver — paying attention and actually giving it full thought — would have said this is not right,” Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Rob Madden said.
To get onto the exit ramp in question, the driver would have had to make an awkward sharp turn and gone around barriers that try to keep people from heading in the wrong direction.
Troopers suspect alcohol might be involved. The woman is facing two charges of vehicular homicide and two charges of vehicular assault.
Investigators will be checking to see if any businesses have video cameras that might help them figure out what happened.