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Denver Police: Fatal Car Accident Was Staged, Charges Now First Degree Murder

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Jail CellBeyond the typical causes of car accidents that we often discuss on this blog — like distracted driving or driving under the influence, for example — sometimes, the possibility of deliberate intent enters the equation. Such is the case in a Colorado car accident that occurred last November. Denver police believe the accident was no accident at all, and charges against the survivor of the single vehicle crash have been escalated to first degree murder.

Brittney Brashers, 22, and her boyfriend Robert Walters, 24, were in Brashers’ car on Nov. 17th when it appeared to go out of control. The Pontiac Vibe they were in seemed to have collided with several parked vehicles before coming to a stop. Police found Brashers dead and Walters crying and screaming for help.

Then things get bizarre. Felisa Cardona of The Denver Post reports that Traffic Detective Kenneth Briggle never believed the fatality was an accident.

Walters had only a minor injury in the crash and claimed he was asleep when it happened.

Witnesses told police Brashers was in a photo shoot at a club north of the crash site and Walters was upset because she had taken her top off.

During Brashers’ autopsy, an agent from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations was present because Brashers and Walters had a history of domestic violence, according to the affidavit.

Detectives reviewed voicemail recordings in which Walters reportedly told Brashers he wished she were dead. There was also a Colorado Springs police report about a month before her death in which Walters threatened to cause her to have a car accident, the affidavit says.

Walters’ estranged wife told police Walters and Brashers were on their way home to Colorado Springs when he got upset about the photo shoot, punched her in the face and steered the car off the highway and parked.

Jeffrey Wolf and Chris Vanderveen, reporters for 9News, bring us a desciption of the events reported in the affidavit:

Investigators believe that all came to a head while they were in the car together on Nov. 17, 2009.

‘He punched the victim in the face and then grabbed the steering wheel, forcing the car to exit the highway… He wanted to take her to the hospital, but knew that she would tell on him,’ according to the arrest affidavit. ‘He decided he had to finish her.’

‘He began to yell at her ‘Why won’t you die, why won’t you die?’ He then got on top of her and using his forearms he began to push down on her throat to stop her breathing and attempted to break her neck,’ according to the affidavit. ‘He then pushed her back into the driver’s seat and unclipped her seatbelt. He then drove [onto South Yuma] and accelerated the vehicle. He then swerved the steering vehicle into the parked cars.’

The description of these inflicted injuries is consistent with the findings of the medical examiner during Brashers’ autopsy.

Additionally, the affidavit states that Walters confessed to the murder on several occasions to his wife, some of which were recorded and submitted to the police. Walters has also attempted suicide twice since the crash, stating that he does not want to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Here is an embedded copy of the arrest affidavit, which includes documentation of the discussions with Walters’ wife referenced above:

Image by abardwell on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license