Man dies 2 weeks after semi crashes, hits liquor store in Castle Rock

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CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — A man is dead two weeks after a crash occurred near exit 184 off of Interstate 25 in Castle Rock on Feb. 2.

The Douglas County Coroner said Wayne Evans, 49, died Monday due to injuries sustained from the crash. Evans was driving one of the vehicles with which the semi collided.

A semi-tractor with a fully loaded flat-bed trailer going southbound off the exit ramp failed to stop and collided with six other vehicles, pushing many through the intersection.

The semi took two of the cars downhill into a commercial parking lot and hit the back of a liquor store.

All of the occupants of the vehicles were extricated and transported to local hospitals as necessary. Colorado State Patrol says the extrication did take a while.

Ten people were injured in the crash. Their ages range from 12 to 77.

Evans was a parent to two girls who attend Southeast Christian School in Parker. His death has left the community shocked.

Evans and his wife Melissa would regularly volunteer at the school.

“The kids loved him. He was funny. Anytime there was an opportunity to come in and support the classroom — whether it was other people’s children’s birthdays, field trips — he and Melissa were always a presence,” said Michelle Davis, the executive director of the school.

A GoFundMe Account has been established for the Evans family.

“I can’t imagine what they are going through. So for us, this is the way we can jump in and say, ‘Here’s how we can help,'” Principal Nathan Teigland said.

A memorial service is scheduled for Evans next week in Larkspur.

On Friday, CSP Master Trooper Gary Cutler said authorities are investigating the possibility of drug use as a contributing factor in the crash. He could not elaborate on what led them to believe that.

The district attorney’s office will determine potential charges against the semi driver, 53-year-old James Gabriel, of Boulder. Cutler said a vehicular homicide charge is a possibility if drugs are determined to be a factor.

Cuter says if drugs are not determined to be a factor, recommended charges could include careless driving causing death.

The Problem Solvers contacted National Wood Products, Inc., the company that owns the truck involved in the crash. Employees would not not comment but directed us to their attorney in Denver, Michael Daugherty.

Daugherty sent the following statement:

“As you are aware the CSP is continuing to investigate this matter. National Wood Products is fully cooperating with the requests of the CSP in the investigation. Because the investigation is on-going, National Wood Products is not able to comment further other than to state that our thoughts and prayers are with all of those directly involved as well as their families.”

Data from the U.S. Department of Transportation show National Wood Products, Inc. has 30 vehicles in its fleet. Within a two-year period ending in January, the company had 78 total vehicle violations. According to records, nearly two dozen of those violations were brake-related and one driver was cited for operation a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

National Wood Products, Inc. is based in Utah with offices in Denver and California. It’s unknown whether the driver involved in the Castle Rock crash is still working for the company. 

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