FOUNTAIN, Colo. — A Colorado State Patrol trooper has been placed on administrative leave after he found the body of a crash victim under the front of his patrol car while responding to the crash, according to Colorado Springs police.
Police said the crash happened around 7:30 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 25 near the Pikes Peak International Raceway. The trooper saw two northbound vehicles–a Jeep Grand Cherokee and a Chevrolet HHR–collide and then careen into a field on the east side of the road, according to police. Police said both vehicles rolled several times.
In an effort to get there as quickly as possible, the trooper drove across a field to the crash site, according to police. When the trooper arrived, the driver of the Jeep had to be extricated. Troopers began to search the area in an attempt to find the driver of the Chevrolet. Eventually, the trooper noticed the man’s body under the front of his patrol car. The trooper notified medical personnel, but the man had already died, according to police.
The victim was identified as Joshua Newell, 33, of Pueblo.
Police said “it was determined the front wheels of the patrol car never rolled over the body.”
Police said an autopsy performed on Newell’s body Monday determined that he died immediately after being ejected from the Chevrolet, and not as a result of being beneath the patrol car.
Police said the driver of the Jeep was wearing a seatbelt, and Newell was not.
Investigators are still working to determine if speed or impairment were factors in the crash.
Police said the trooper, who has been with the Colorado State Patrol since 2006, was put on paid administrative leave “as per standard CSP procedures.” The trooper’s name was not released.
The Colorado Springs Police Department is investigating the crash.