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Three College Swimmers Killed in Colorado Traffic Accident

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

Three college athletes from Wyoming were recently killed in a tragic, single-car accident in Colorado’s Larimer County.

The trio – whose ages ranged from 18 to 21 – were all part of the University of Wyoming’s swim and dive team, CBS News reports. Two other people in the vehicle with them reportedly suffered non-fatal injuries.

The crash occurred on Highway 287, roughly 10 miles from Colorado’s border with Wyoming, according to CBS News. At least 15 students have died in accidents along the same stretch of road in recent years, the Associated Press reports.

“We are heartsick at the news of this terrible tragedy for our university, our state, our student-athlete community and, most importantly, the families and friends of these young people,” University of Wyoming President Ed Seidel said in a statement following the accident. “Words are insufficient to express our sadness.”

The athletes reportedly were traveling in a Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle, headed southbound toward Red Mountain Road when the car swerved and went off the rural highway. It may have been trying to avoid an oncoming car while making a left turn, according to reports. The SUV then rolled over multiple times, reportedly ejecting at least two of the occupants.

“Portions of the road in Colorado have above-average crash rates, making the highway a good candidate for more safety improvements, according to a summary of a 2023 Colorado Department of Transportation report,” the AP’s Mead Gruver reports. The CDOT report has not yet been made public.

Some 570 accidents have happened in the last five years along the 30-mile stretch of Highway 287 from Fort Collins to the Wyoming line, AP said, citing the CDOT report. That tally includes 15 fatal collisions.

Three University of Wyoming students were killed near the site of the crash in a separate accident nearly three years ago. The two-vehicle collision reportedly came when the students’ car slid on an icy patch of road and was struck by an oncoming vehicle.

A University of Wyoming football player died and three of his teammates were injured in 2010 near the same spot. That accident was caused by a pickup truck that drifted into the lane in which the players were traveling.

Tragedy also struck in the same area roughly a decade earlier when eight University of Wyoming cross-country runners were killed after their van was struck by another vehicle. The drunk driver behind the wheel of the other car – also a student at the university – was the only survivor of the crash.

The Risk of Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents like the one that killed the Wyoming athletes are all too common in Colorado and across the country. Because of the nature of these crashes, they often come with serious or fatal injuries.

These collisions occur when a vehicle tips over on its side or rolls over one or more times. Top-heavy SUVs are among the cars most commonly involved in the crashes. Trucks and vans are also among the most likely to roll over, although newer models come with advanced safety features designed to reduce the risk.

Rollover accidents can include multiple vehicles, but are routinely single-car crashes. They can be caused by a number of factors, from speeding, swerving and sharp turns to severe weather conditions like rain, snow and wind.

These accidents are particularly severe because occupants in a vehicle that rolls over may be thrown around or even ejected from the car. People who are not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash are particularly at risk of being ejected. Skull fractures and spine injuries are among the most common results of rollover crashes.

Wrongful Death Claims After Fatal Car Accidents

Anyone who is injured in a car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible.

The money damages typical available in these cases includes compensation for medical bills, property damage and missed wages, as well as any impact on an injured person’s earning capacity. It generally is designed to put the injured person back in the financial position that he or she was in prior to the crash.

In the tragic case that a person dies in a traffic accident, certain of his or her loved ones also have the right under Colorado law to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. 

Money damages in these cases are meant to compensate family members for the financial impact of losing a loved one. That includes compensation for medical and burial costs as well as the loss of the person’s financial and emotional support.

To be clear, a wrongful death claim will not bring back your loved one. Pursuing a claim can, however, help ease the financial strain that often comes with the loss of a loved one. Taking legal action can also provide a certain level of closure by getting justice and ensuring that those responsible are made accountable for their role in the accident.

State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.

To successfully pursue a wrongful death claim, you have to be able to prove that a driver or other party is legally liable for your loved one’s death. Fortunately, you do not need to go it alone. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and explore your options.

Speak with a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck, motorcycle or other accident in Colorado, a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help you understand your rights and get compensation for your injuries. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

We are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.