1 Dead In Suspected DUI Crash After Fireworks Show
GRAND LAKE, Colo. (AP/CBS4) — A man from Estes Park is dead and his wife and three children are injured after being struck by a suspected drunken driver after Grand Lake’s fireworks show.
Fifty-year-old Greg Westley was killed after he was struck by a pickup truck while walking along U.S. Highway 34. His wife Debbie and three of their children, ranging from ages 3 to 19, were flown to Denver hospitals for treatment. Their five other children weren’t harmed.
“It was horrific. That’s the only way to describe it. Too many people, too many victims,” said Blue Bird Motel Manager Linda Vissar.
The Blue Bird Motel is located just feet from where the deadly crash happened.
“They were crouched on the ground with blankets around them looking for their baby so finally another gentlemen came around with a baby wrapped in a blanket and he was fine,” said Vissar.
The pickup driver, 33-year-old Lucas Ackerman of Grand Lake, is being held on suspicion of driving under the influence.
He appeared in court on Friday afternoon where he was advised of the charges against him which include vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, child abuse and suspicion of driving under the influence.
His bond was set at $40,000.
Ackerman was also with his family leaving the fireworks show. His wife said she was in the vehicle with her husband and their two children. She told CBS4 she was “taking things hour by hour” and “we feel horrible, it’s a terrible tragedy.”
Other charges are possible after the Colorado State Patrol completes its investigation.
“I don’t understand how one driver could possibly hit that many people and do that much damage,” said Vissar.
Adam Bright was walking back to his car when he heard the crash. He ran over to help before paramedics arrived and stabilized one of the victims who was unconscious. Then he worked to comfort the others.
“Just telling them the best folks in the county are here working on them and if there’s anything to be done it’s going to be done and to pray everything will work out and keep your head on straight and know there are better days ahead,” said Bright.
Ackerman’s criminal history includes arrests for assaults and a DUI in which he pleaded guilty in 2002. He is scheduled to appear in court July 9 for a formal filing of charges.
The highway was closed to all but intermittent traffic for over four hours after the crash.
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