COLORADO SPRINGS – An El Paso County Deputy came to court Thursday prepared to plead not guilty to charges related to a crash that killed a couple on Highway 24 in July.
That didn’t happen today for Quinlan Linebaugh for two reasons. First, the judge originally assigned to the case recused himself saying he’s a close family friend and that causes a conflict of interest. Second, when the case was moved to a new courtroom with a new judge, the victims’ family insisted on a new pre-trial conference at a time when other family members can attend.
Linebaugh and the family of Kenneth and Dorothy Wuerfele will be back in court on October 22nd.
Back in July, the Wuerfles were heading for a night out ahead of a birthday. According to state troopers, they were westbound on Highway 24 between Colorado Springs and Falcon when Deputy Linebaugh went past them in the eastbound lanes of traffic. The crash report states the driver of a dump truck swerved to avoid a collision with the marked patrol car but instead hit the Wuerfle’s car head-on.
75-year-old Kenneth Wuerfele and 71-year-old Dorothy Wuerfele died on impact. 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.
Linebaugh was in his patrol car which was not headed to an emergency call at the time. He’s since been terminated from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.