Victims identified in fatal crash that involved El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy

Posted at 2:13 PM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 16:13:17-04

The Colorado State Patrol (CSP) identified the two people who were killed after a head-on collision on Highway 24 that involved an El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy.

State Patrol said 75-year-old Kenneth Wuerfele and 71-year-old Dorothy Wuerfele were in the 2008 Lincoln Mark 8 that collided head-on with a dump truck about five miles east of Colorado Springs.

Kenneth Wuerfele died at the scene, while Dorothy Wuerfele died from her injuries at the hospital. Both of them were from Peyton.

CSP said El Paso County deputy Quinlan Linebaugh was behind the wheel of a marked El Paso County Sheriff’s Office cruiser that was traveling west around 1:24 p.m. Tuesday.

State Patrol said Linebaugh was driving behind Kenneth and Dorothy Wuerfele when he passed the couple, entering the eastbound lanes where a dump truck was driving. His cruiser made contact with the truck.

Captain John Lupton with the Colorado State Patrol said the dump truck swerved to avoid the deputy’s car, causing the truck to fishtail and hit the Wuerfele’s truck head-on.

"The vehicle that was passing was coming toward a dump truck," Lupton told News 5. "The dump truck went to make an evasive maneuver, started to swerve back and forth, fish-tailed a little bit, went into the oncoming lane, and impacted another vehicle head-on."

The driver of the dump truck, 64-year-old James Stutsman, was airlifted to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. His passenger, 30-year-old Eleazar Velazquez suffered minor injuries.

In a news release sent out late Tuesday night, troopers did not state if Linebaugh caused the crash, but Lupton said troopers are investigating the pass that the deputy made as "unsafe" at this time.

Linebaugh suffered minor injuries, but was taken to the hospital and treated.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, which read in part: "We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families.”

The highway was reopened a little after 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Colorado State Patrol said it is continuing to investigate the crash.