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Driver Charged With Vehicular Homicide After Passenger Opens SUV Door, Dies

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Jeffrey Harrington (credit: Denver Police Dept.)

Jeffrey Harrington (credit: Denver Police Dept.)

DENVER (CBS4)- Police in Denver have arrested a driver after his passenger opened the door of the SUV and fell, striking his head.

Jeffrey Harrington was driving a Jeep at about 12:30 a.m. Friday in the 2300 block of North Cherry Creek Drive approaching University Boulevard.

Police said Harrington, 39, was driving westbound in the eastbound lane.

Police said David “Sparky” Truax, a passenger in the Jeep, opened his door and fell to the ground, striking his head. He died a short time later at Denver Health Medical Center from blunt force injuries.

sparky truax Driver Charged With Vehicular Homicide After Passenger Opens SUV Door, Dies

David "Sparky" Truax (credit: South Metro Fire)

“We are just saddened and devastated by this news not just because it’s a few days before Christmas but because everyone genuinely liked Sparky Truax,” said South Metro Fire Rescue spokesman Andy Lyon.

Truax, 50, was a firefighter and EMT with South Metro Fire Rescue for 10 years.

sparky truax3 Driver Charged With Vehicular Homicide After Passenger Opens SUV Door, Dies

David "Sparky" Truax (credit: South Metro Fire)

Harrington also worked at South Metro Fire Dept. as a firefighter and EMT but left in 2007 as a lieutenant. Harrington and Truax were hired at South Metro Fire on the same day.

According to jail records, Harrington requested special housing because of his involvement with the Sheridan Fire Department.

Police suspected that Harrington was under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested for investigation of driving under the influence of alcohol and vehicular homicide.

“If you are drinking and something bad happens, even if it’s not something you directly do, you are responsible for that accident,” said Denver Police Lt. Matt Murray.

“I am saddened for all involved. We’re going to let the Denver Police do what they need to do,” said Lyon.

Harrington remains in custody.

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