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A fiery crash killed one and seriously injured another driver in Commerce City last Saturday. The car accident was reported at approximately 12:24 a.m. at East 104th Avenue and Tower Road, according to the Commerce City Police Department.

Initial investigation indicates that a white SUV travelling north on Tower Road at East 104th Avenue struck a black SUV as it entered the intersection heading west on East 104th Avenue.

The driver of the black SUV was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the white SUV sustained serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital.

Both drivers are female, but police have not released their names. CCPD stated that alcohol may have been a contributing factor, but that the investigation is ongoing.

The tragedy of impaired or negligent driving

Approximately one in three traffic fatalities in the United States is due to drunk driving. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), 2019 saw 10,142 people lose their lives in drunk-driving crashes.

Alcohol affects not only brain function, but also judgement, reasoning and muscle coordination. It is illegal in all states except Utah to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. Utah’s limit is .05.

Many people do not realize that even a small amount of alcohol in the bloodstream can still affect driver judgement and reflexes. In fact, in 2018 1,878 fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes in which drivers had BACs of .01 to .07.

Losing a loved one in a preventable accident

Coping with the unexpected loss of a loved one involved in traffic accident is bad enough. If the accident was caused by inattention, recklessness, elevated alcohol levels or other forms of negligence, it is possible to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Colorado has laws that allow victim’s families to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages and future income as well as funeral and other expenses. Although not a criminal proceeding, finding proximate cause on the other party can result in a judgement that holds them financially responsible for loss.

While a settlement will never bring a loved one back, it can ease the pain of loss. Having an experienced wrongful death attorney to pursue a claim that will hold the negligent party responsible can provide a measure of comfort and, hopefully, closure.