Victim of DUI collision ID’d as Denver woman, 28 |

Victim of DUI collision ID’d as Denver woman, 28

Alan Gathright and Judy Villa
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado
George Kochaniec Jr./Rocky Mountain NewsScene of a deadly crash between an ambulance and a car at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and York Street.

DENVER, Colorado ” Authorities have identified a 28-year-old Denver woman killed early today when a speeding drunk driver ran a red light and slammed into an ambulance.

Denver police believe Rochelle Hope was walking about 3:11 a.m. when she was hit by the careening wreckage at York Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

An autopsy was being conducted this afternoon on the young victim and the cause of death was not immediately available, a coroner’s employee said.

Initial investigation ruled out the possibility that the dead woman was a passenger ejected from the white Cadillac that hit the amublance, said police spokesman Sonny Jackson.

As for the possibility that Hope might have been sitting on a bus bench mangled in the wreck, Jackson said: “We’ll have to examine the body to determine impact.”

The unidentified man who was driving the Cadillac remained in critical condition at a local hospital. Firefighters had to extract him from the mashed sedan.

“If (the driver) survives, he is going to be charged with vehicular homicide,” Denver police accident investigator J.L. Huff said.

Huff said he attempted to interview the Cadillac driver at the hospital.

“He was so drunk and out of it that he didn’t even know he was driving,” Huff said. “He doesn’t have any idea what happened.”

The Denver Health ambulance, responding to an emergency call with flashing lights and sirens, was driving west on MLK Boulevard.

A patrol car traveling south in the 3100 block of York spotted the white Cadillac speeding north and turned around to pursue the sedan, police said.

But the Cadillac driver allegedly ran the red light, slamming into the ambulance, Huff said.

The smashed vehicles slid west past the intersection, slamming into a bus stop bench on the north side of the street. The green RTD bench was mangled.

Skid marks indicated the ambulance slammed on its brakes after already entering the intersection, trying to avoid the collision.

The Cadillac hit with such force the ambulance was spun around and came to rest facing the opposite direction.

Investigators will have to reconstruct the accident to determine precisely where the woman was when she was hit.

“We were never able to talk to her, because she never regained consciousness at the hospital,” Huff said.

The two emergency medical technicians were treated for injuries and released.

“They’re trying to get to a call to help somebody, and then ” blam ” they get hit by a drunk driver,” Huff said.

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