AURORA, Colo. (CBS/AP) — The Colorado State Patrol says a sedan going the wrong way on a Denver-area freeway collided head-on with an SUV, and the drivers of both vehicles were killed.
Three minors who were riding in the SUV were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
The patrol says a Ford Taurus was traveling south in the northbound lanes of E-470 near Quincy Avenue at 8:20 p.m. on Sunday when it collided with a Chevrolet Yukon.
Troopers identified the victims as 89-year-old Odean Wheetley, who was driving the Taurus, and 37-year-old Grier Laughlin, driver of the Yukon. Both were from Aurora.
“There are really many things that can cause a driver to go the wrong way,” Trooper Heather Cobler with the Colorado State Patrol said. “It could be a medical condition, alcohol, not knowing the area; right now we’re still investigating all of these possibilities.”
Investigators believe Wheetley may have gotten onto E-470 in the wrong direction from Colfax Avenue, several miles north of where the accident happened. They’ve asked E-470 administrators to look at license plate cameras to see if that information can be confirmed.
Laughlin was president of Quintus Financial and director of the Colorado Water Polo Association. He was a graduate of Cherry Creek High School.
“We will miss his gregarious, fun energy and his passion for polo, for kids, and for his family,” a post on the Colorado Water Polo Association website said.
State Patrol also said Wheetley may have been reported missing sometime Sunday in Arapahoe County.
Neighbors at the Heather Gardens Senior Living Community where Wheetley lived said the news came as a shock.
“We’re stunned of course, we’re basically flabbergasted, she was a sweet lady, she made a difference and she’ll be missed,” a neighbor said.
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