Fatal Flaming SUV Accident North of Loveland, Colorado
Loveland, Colorado was the scene of a fatal car accident last Wednesday, when an SUV burst into flames after the rollover crash. The driver survived the accident, but died that afternoon at the Medical Center of the Rockies.
Pamela Dickman of the Loveland Reporter-Herald describes what happened:
Jason D. Downey, a 29-year-old Fort Collins man who had been driving north, died from his injuries after medics rushed him from the crash scene, on County Road 19 (Wilson Avenue) between Loveland and Fort Collins.
Witnesses — many of whom stopped and helped tend to Downey — told troopers that for some reason the sport utility vehicle swerved off the right side of the road, Trooper Lance Paa reported.
The driver over corrected, crossed southbound traffic, and his vehicle rolled about 15 feet into a field.
Paa said the initial investigation indicates that the SUV rolled over its driver after he was thrown from the vehicle. Downey probably would have survived such a crash had he worn a seat belt, the trooper said.
Several drivers stopped to render aid to Downey, including Michael Gheen Of Loveland, Colorado, who was traveling to Fort Collins at the time of the car accident. Noticing that Downey appeared to have serious injuries and was apparently having trouble breathing, he told the others not to move him because it could cause further personal injuries.
Within a few minutes of the accident, the SUV began to burn. Nate Taylor, a reporter for Loveland Connection, explains that Gheen, a military veteran, used his Ford F-350 pickup truck to move the burning SUV away from the victim. Gheen pushed the SUV about 50 yards until flames started damaging his own truck.
There is no statement available on the cause of the accident, and there have been no reports at this point indicating alcohol or drug use. Considering that Downey most likely would have survived had he been wearing a seat belt, it is no surprise that Colorado State Patrol have stressed the importance of seat belts in their statements to the media.
Image by Capture Queen ™, used under its Creative Commons license.