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CDOT talks safety on U.S. 24 east of Colorado Springs after recent double-fatality crash

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Some residents are calling for increased safety along a 25-mile stretch of U.S. 24 between Colorado Springs and Calhan after two drivers died in a crash last Friday.

According to the Colorado State Patrol, two Subarus collided head-on, just after midnight near the intersection of U.S. 24 and Palomino Drive, west of Calhan.


The CSP said that Wyatt Taylor, 20, of Peyton, was heading east on the highway while the second Subaru, driven by Melissa Piccione, 36, of Colorado Springs, was traveling west.

The accident remains under investigation and although troopers suspect alcohol was a factor, they aren't revealing which driver was at fault.

A group of Piccione's friends gathered at the crash site Monday to leave a memorial of flowers and pictures.


"She was a mother of five," one friend said. "She was on her way home from work when this happened. This is the second person we know who has died in a crash on this highway."

The crashed closed the intersection for nearly four hours; Master Trooper David Conway described the affected section of highway as "a straight, flat stretch with no obstructions or weather issues."

"There have been fatal crashes on that stretch in recent years but probably fewer than five so far this year," he added.


But that's still too many for one resident who emailed KRDO NewsChannel 13, expressing concern about fatal crashes along that stretch over the years and asking if the Colorado Department of Transportation can do more to improve safety there.

Michelle Peulen, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said that the agency has widened the affected stretch of highway in several places and installed turn lanes at some locations.


"We have another widening project that will take place in the next three to four years," she said. "We're also studying where more turn lanes might improve traffic flow. Next spring, we'll add center lane rumble strips to help keep drivers alert."

Most of those improvements, she said, were or will be done between Falcon and Colorado Springs.

What residents most want to see -- reducing the speed limit from 65 mph -- is currently not in CDOT's plans.

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Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.


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