EL PASO COUNTY – An El Paso County deputy involved in a crash that left two people dead and two injured is now facing four charges for his role in the crash.
Prosecutors charged deputy Quinlan Linebaugh with two counts of careless driving causing death and two counts of careless driving causing bodily injury. All of those charges are misdemeanors.
Linebaugh was cited, but he was not arrested. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that Linebaugh is on administrative leave without pay pending termination.
Colorado State Patrol said Deputy Linebaugh was behind the wheel of a marked El Paso County Sheriff’s Office cruiser that was driving behind Kenneth Wuerfele, 75, and Dorothy Wuerfele, 71, on Highway 24. CSP said Linebaugh passed the couple, entering the eastbound lanes where a dump truck was driving.
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 Lincoln Mark 8 head-on, killing both of them.
“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.
At the time of the crash, troopers told News 5 Linebaugh made an “unsafe” pass. Linebaugh suffered minor injuries and returned to the scene of the crash after he saw it happen.
“This investigation was led by our Vehicular Crimes Unit and I am proud of the thoroughness our Troopers have shown while investigating the tragic death of these victims,” said Major Scott Copley of the Colorado State Patrol.