DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado State Patrol reports a woman was killed early Monday morning after exiting her vehicle and being hit by another vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 25 near Castle Pines. The female driver, identified as Kendra Durnan, reportedly struck an elk that was running across the highway, Master Trooper Gary Cutler explained to CBS4. Her car was damaged and she was unable to continue driving it.

Durnan, 18, was struck outside her vehicle, Cutler said. Her body was thrown in the northbound lanes. Durnan was from Buffalo, Minnesota.

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The collision occurred south of the Happy Canyon exit.

(credit: South Metro Fire Rescue/Twitter)

Four vehicles were involved in the accident, according to CSP. Nine people were injured and transported to the hospital.

(credit: CBS)

Southbound lanes of I-25 remained closed for hours as CSP investigators completed their investigation of the scene.

Cutler said investigators do not believe at this time that alcohol or excessive speed played any role in the accident.

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Workers from the Colorado Department of Transportation clean up the remains of an animal at the scene Monday morning. (credit: CBS)

There were three male passengers in Durnan’s vehicle, Cutler noted. In total, two parties from two different cars got out of their vehicles.

Cutler said the accident was first reported at 12:53 a.m. Monday.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), there are thousands of wildlife incidents every year on Colorado roads. Some result in injury and very few result in death.

In 2020, the ten mile stretch of I-25 where the crash occurred had among the highest number of roadkill reports for highways in the Denver Metro area.

Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA Colorado, said generally, the best advice for drivers involved in wildlife-related crashes is to put on you hazard lights, get to the side of the road, and call local authorities. In this case, that may not have been possible with a disabled car.

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“Sometimes you’re in these traffic safety situations where there’s not an easy answer. Generally if your car is stuck in a traffic lane and it’s completely disabled and you can’t safely get it to a breakdown lane, you want to make yourself as visible as possible for oncoming traffic to see,” McKinley said.

Logan Smith