DENVER — The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) released data Monday showing that 745 people died on Colorado’s roads in 2022, marking the state’s highest level of traffic fatalities since 1981.
According to the CDOT, 278 people died in 2022 as a result of an inability to drive, an increase of almost 60% compared to 2019. The data shows that Adams (35), El Paso (21), and Denver (21) counties.
At the intersection of 98th and Federal in Denver, Renee Lund stood in the same spot where her 19-year-old son Tanner was killed by a suspected disabled driver in March 2022.
“He turned left at a green light, and as he turned, someone went through the red light and rammed him up and wrapped him around this post here,” Lund said, pointing to the post next to her, of which she is sure that it is decorated as a souvenir of her son: “In no time he was gone.”
Lund described Tanner as quirky, compassionate, funny and kind.
“He made an impression on everyone from the youngest child to the oldest adult and he will be missed. we miss him We miss something about Tanner every day,” said Lund. “I have to learn to live my life without Tanner, physically. But I always want to say his name.”
CONTINUE READING: ‘He will not be forgotten’: Lovers spread light in honor of teen killed by suspected impaired driver
The suspect in Tanner’s case, Noe Menjivar Chavez, has a hearing scheduled for February 3 available. He is facing two counts of vehicular homicide related to reckless driving and one count of vehicular homicide related to DUI.
“They were very secretive about everything, but I know alcohol was involved,” Lund said.
Lund said her head understands how long the justice system is taking, but her heart can’t.
“It’s very difficult because every time we go there, we all experience it again,” she said of attending the court hearings. “Many of us cannot really move forward with any type of healing until this is over. and I know it might be a while yet.”
Lund has full confidence in the prosecutors handling her son’s case, but said it was shocking how many people died in 2022 as a result of disrupted driving. It’s one of the reasons she’s willing to share her son’s story in the hopes that drivers will hear and take it to heart. Lund described it as her lifelong mission.
“I don’t want Tanner to be forgotten,” she said. “And the way he died … We have some serious problems with DUI deaths and I want to try and make a difference.”
CONTINUE READING: Highest road fatality rate in Colorado since 1981. A detailed look at the data
Sam Cole, a communications manager at CDOT, said there are 16 new law enforcement officers from agencies across the state who are completing training for a special certification that will help them determine what substances a driver may have used before driving tax sets. Cole said about 40% of people with DUI have more than one substance in their system.
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