Wrecks rising in Douglas County, Highlands Ranch

Sheriff blames distracted driving

McKenna Harford mharford@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 12/31/69

Car wrecks in Douglas County are trending up so far this year compared to the same time last year with a cluster of Highlands Ranch intersections seeing a majority of the crashes. 

The …

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Wrecks rising in Douglas County, Highlands Ranch

Sheriff blames distracted driving

Posted

Car wrecks in Douglas County are trending up so far this year compared to the same time last year with a cluster of Highlands Ranch intersections seeing a majority of the crashes. 

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reports 394 wrecks so far in 2022, which is up 17% over the same time last year.

Injury crashes are up 9%, with two fatal wrecks since January. 

Sheriff Tony Spurlock said car crashes are the third most common kind of incident Douglas County officers respond to on a regular basis.

“We have a lot of inexperienced drivers, people not paying attention and also people in a hurry, failing to comply with the lights or turning right on red,” he said of the wrecks. “If you put your foot on the gas to go faster when you see the light turn yellow, you’re doing something wrong.”

Of the top 10 intersections that record the most crashes, nine are in Highlands Ranch. 

According to the sheriff's department, the intersections include - Lincoln Avenue and Chambers Road; Quebec Street and University Boulevard; University Boulevard and Wildcat Reserve Parkway; University Boulevard and Highlands Ranch Parkway; Quebec Street and Business Center; Quebec Street and County Line Road; University Boulevard and Cresthill Lane; Wildcat Reserve Parkway and Fairview Parkway; Highlands Ranch Parkway and Broadway; Highlands Ranch Parkway and Lucent Boulevard.

“You’ll see a common theme, which is that (the intersections) are right around our big high schools,” Spurlock said. “They’re major, major intersections with six lanes or more. Quite frankly, people are just not paying attention.”

In 2021, the nine Highlands Ranch intersections accounted for 145 crashes, which is 9% of the year's 1,658 crashes investigated by the DCSO.

Spurlock noted that about 80% of the wrecks are non-injury, including rear-ends, turning crashes and a few head-on incidents.

“A lot of the time there’s a lot of automobile damage, but minimal or low injury,” he said.

Signage is up at a few of the intersections to warn drivers it’s a high crash area and Spurlock hopes continue to increase awareness.

DCSO also works with local police departments and the Colorado State Patrol to monitor and enforce road regulations, but Spurlock said it is not a perfect solution. 

“Strict enforcement is only good as long as (officers) are there, the second we leave, violations continue to go back up again,” he said.

In reality, Spurlock said wrecks are best deterred by drivers being aware of their surroundings and following speed limits and road signs.

“Put your phone down, pay attention to what’s going on, stop having conversations and get through the intersection safely.”

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