Report: 18-year-old driver on first date ran stop sign, collided with state trooper
Colorado (KCNC) -- A Colorado State Patrol vehicle's dashcam video proved to investigators that another car ran a stop sign, causing a collision that injured the trooper and two people inside the other car.
Investigators with the Grand Junction Police Department released their findings on the crash Friday. The accident happened July 27 three miles west of Fruita at the intersection of Mesa County Road 22 and K Road.
Investigators concluded 18-year-old Lukas Monahan was at fault, according to the report. Monahan was driving a 2017 Kia Rio sedan northbound on CR22 as he approached the intersection. Trooper Brad Latchaw was driving a marked CSP Ford F-150 pickup eastbound on K Road.
Per on-board data retrieved from the vehicles after the collision, Latchaw's pickup was travelling at 52.6 mph at the time of impact. Monahan's Kia was going 45.3 mph at the time. Both roadways were posted with 45 mph speed limits.
Both vehicles spun into a field northeast of the intersection after the collision. The Kia rolled at least once but landed on its wheels, per the report.
Monahan had to be cut from the wreckage. He and a 20-year-old female passenger were both seriously injured and taken immediately to a hospital, the report stated.
Monahan was still recovering in the hospital when investigators interviewed more than a month after the accident. He had suffered a skull fracture and head injury and was still trying to regain full use of his right hand. Monahan recalled trying to drive carefully - "doing everything right," he told investigators - because he and the female were on their first date
The report exonerated the trooper of any wrongdoing, and Dan Rubenstein, the 21st Judicial District Attorney, declined to file any criminal charges against Latchaw.
Investigators did not find any evidence of impairment in the 18-year-old driver. Rubenstein declined to file criminal charges against Monahan as well.
However, Monahan could still be cited for a traffic infraction which would carry a lesser penalty. A GJPD spokesperson, Kelly Clingman, told CBS News Colorado her agency had not issued a citation to Monahan as of Saturday. .
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