A Peyton couple in their 70s were identified by the Colorado State Patrol as the two people killed in a wreck Tuesday on U.S. 24 east of Falcon that involved an El Paso County sheriff’s deputy.

Dorothy and Kenneth Wuerfele were killed and three others were injured in the three-vehicle crash between Elbert and Stapleton roads.

According to the State Patrol:

El Paso County sheriff’s Deputy Quinlan Linebaugh, 29, was driving west in his patrol car around 1:30 p.m. when he tried to pass two vehicles. Linebaugh made it around the first vehicle and was passing the Wuerfeles’ 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 side of the road. Kenneth, 75, died in the crash, and Dorothy, 71, died shortly after being taken to a hospital.

The driver of the dump truck, 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 has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, Sheriff Bill Elder said in an emailed statement. He has worked at the Sheriff’s Office since 2012 and is a school resource officer. He works on patrol when school is not in session.

Two other deputies are on paid administrative leave after a shooting Sunday in which one of the deputies was injured and a robbery and homicide suspect was shot and killed.

Deputy Jeremy Juhl was placed on “routine” paid leave after a “slight” injury in the shooting, as was Deputy Chad Wheat, “due to his involvement in the incident,” sheriff’s spokeswoman Jacqueline Kirby said. The victim in the shooting has not been identified.

The crash is under investigation, and alcohol and drug use are not considered contributing factors to the crash , the State Patrol said. Linebaugh and the Wuerfeles were wearing seat belts, but Stutsman and Velazquez weren’t.

The Gazette’s Kaitlin Durbin contributed to this report.


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.

Load comments