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Fatal Highway 115 crash started as a high-speed police chase

April 10, 2017 Updated: April 10, 2017 at 4:54 pm
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Highway 115 is closed in both directions about six miles north of Penrose after a fatal crash early Monday morning, according to Colorado State Patrol. (Courtesy KKTV)

A double fatal crash on Highway 115 early Monday morning started as a high-speed police chase.

Florence police were trying to stop a 1992 Nissan Sentra about 3:15 a.m. when the vehicle kept going, crossing law enforcement jurisdictions, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nate Reid. He did not know why police were initially stopping the car.

Fremont County sheriff's deputies tried to pick up the chase and followed the driver to mile marker 33, when they, too, broke off the chase, Reid said.

Minutes later, while Fremont deputies were parked at the pull-off, they saw the Nissan drive by again, this time heading south. The vehicle reached recorded speeds of up to 85 mph, Gazette news partner KKTV reported.

Ten miles down the road, as the Nissan was navigating curvy roads, the driver collided head-on with a 2007 Chevy Trailblazer near mile marker 24, killing both male drivers. The Nissan driver, 33-year-old Timothy VanHeel of Colorado Springs, was ejected and pronounced dead on scene. The Chevy driver, 57-year-old Daniel Picco of Cañon City, was wearing his seat belt but died shortly after the crash.

"He was not being pursued when the crash happened," Reid said of the Nissan driver.

The crash closed Highway 115 for about four hours Monday morning.

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Contact Kaitlin Durbin: 636-0362

Twitter: @njKaitlinDurbin

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