Police Allege Driver Lied About Fatal Crash

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The driver who crashed an SUV into an empty sedan and pushed the vehicle into two plumbers allegedly told police a false story about what caused the crash.

The Colorado Springs Police Department says they're now asking for help finding Michael Stephen Benton, 32. An arrest warrant is pending and a probable cause affidavit is currently in the system for his arrest.

According to police, Benton was behind the wheel of a blue Nissan SUV that was headed southbound on the 1400 block of North Nevada Avenue. He originally told police he swerved to avoid crashing into a small black pickup truck that was in the left lane, which led to him crashing into two vehicles parked along the side of the road.

The collision pushed the second vehicle, a red Nissan sedan, into the rear of a parked work van where two plumbers were removing tools from the vehicle. Both men, a 44-year-old and a 46-year-old, were pinned between the two vehicles.

Both men were taken to the hospital; Mark Michelle, the 46-year-old, died as a result of his injuries.

Police no longer believe that the account of events Benton gave them was true.

Danielle Richardson, a friend of Michelle, says his death was a deep loss for Allied Plumbing and everyone that knew him.

"He was a very funny guy, just a very trustworthy guy," Richardson said. "We could trust him with our vans, with our equipment, that he would get the job done right. He was just a really good guy."

Richardson adds that the other plumber has severe leg injuries and will likely need rods inserted.

Police are asking for help finding Benton. They believe he is still in the Colorado Springs area and may be staying at a local hotel. He is suspected to be driving a white Dodge Neon.

Anyone with information is asked to call 719-444-7000 or Crime Stoppers at 719-634-STOP.

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