Deputy Cited

In this photo from July 24, U.S. 24 was shut down for hours for an accident in which two people died. Deputy Quinlan Linebaugh, 29, has been placed on administrative leave and cited for two counts of careless driving causing death and two counts of careless driving causing bodily injury in the crash.

An El Paso County sheriff’s deputy will lose his job after being cited Thursday with two counts of careless driving causing death and two counts of careless driving causing bodily injury in a double-fatal wreck on U.S. 24 east of Falcon.

Quinlan Linebaugh, 29, has been placed on administrative leave without pay pending termination, the Sheriff’s Office announced.

“We are cooperating with law enforcement, and we have faith in the criminal justice system and look forward to addressing the allegations in a public courtroom,” Linebaugh’s attorney, Jeff Eidsness, said in a statement.

“We continue to extend our deepest condolences to those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

Linebaugh was driving west in his patrol car about 1:30 p.m. July 24 when he tried to pass two vehicles, the Colorado State Patrol said. He made it around the first vehicle and was passing Dorothy and Kenneth Wuerfele’s 2008 Lincoln pickup when he collided with an oncoming dump truck in the eastbound lane.

The dump truck hit the Wuerfeles’ pickup, and both vehicles went off the road. Kenneth, 75, died in the crash, and Dorothy, 71, died shortly after being taken to a hospital.

The dump truck driver, James Stutsman, 64, was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, the State Patrol said. Linebaugh and a passenger in the dump truck, Eleazar Velazquez, 30, were hospitalized with minor injuries.

Linebaugh and the Wuerfeles were wearing seat belts, but Stutsman and Velazquez weren’t.

Linebaugh has worked at the Sheriff’s Office since Feb. 13, 2012, and is a school resource officer. He worked on patrol when school is not in session.

“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,” State Patrol Major Scott Copley said in a statement. “My heart goes out to the family and friends of those impacted by this tragedy.”

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Ellie is a general assignment reporter. She's a proud Midwesterner, stationery hoarder and Earl Grey tea enthusiast. After interning at The Gazette in 2015, she joined the newspaper's staff in 2016.

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