Captain Jeff Goodwin
Public Information Officer
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Date: 12-21-2009 Time: 4:40 p.m.
On 12/17/09 at approximately 01:30 a.m., the Colorado State Patrol was notified of a motor-vehicle crash on southbound Colorado 25 near Fountain, CO.
A Mazda sedan struck a deer and became disabled in the right lane of traffic. A passenger in the Mazda contacted the Patrol at 01:37 a.m. to report the accident and advise the Mazda was in the lane of travel with no lights or flashers.
At 01:50 a.m., approximately 13 minutes later, a Ford Explorer driven by Heather Clinton, 20 of San Manuel, Arizona lost control while approaching the Mazda. The Ford rolled into the center median. Ms. Clinton and a passenger, Earl “E.J.” Clinton, 22 also of San Manuel were ejected during the rollover. The occupants of the Ford were siblings.
Ms. Clinton sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Mr. Clinton sustained serious injuries and was transported to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs.
During the course of the initial investigation, the Colorado State Patrol learned of a delay within the Pueblo Regional Communication Center. There was a nine-minute delay between the dispatch center receiving the initial call from the passenger in the Mazda, and the time a trooper received the information from dispatch. The trooper was dispatched at 01:46 a.m.
Three members of the Pueblo Regional Communication Center have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
“We are proactively coming forward with this information because we are holders of the public trust” said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “It’s important that we step forward even when the news isn’t good.”
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and are committed to a thorough and comprehensive internal investigation. I met earlier this afternoon with Heather and E.J.’s parents to discuss the findings of our preliminary investigation. The thoughts and prayers of the Colorado State Patrol are with the Clinton family.”
Anyone who may have witnessed this accident is encouraged to contact the Colorado State Patrol at 719-248-8991.