Colorado Springs on route for deadliest year on roads

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) Last year was the deadliest year in Colorado Springs’ history for traffic-related crashes.

Thirty-nine people died on our roads.

The Colorado Springs Police Department approached KKTV 11 News and our news partners at The Gazette, wanting to educate the public about dangerous driving behaviors.

CSPD says at the rate we're going this year, we could set a new record. It's a record that no one wants. They say the biggest issues they're seeing are crashes involving pedestrians, speeding, drunk driving, and aggressive driving or road rage. The police department says they’re working to address these problems with different patrols but they need the community’s help.

So far in 2018, 32 people have died on our roads. Last year this time, 22 had died.

"It's not just a police department issue, it's a community issue. It's something that takes all of us working together throughout the city to make a difference in,” Lt. John Koch said.

Dirk Cordtz was one of the first fatalities this year. He was killed in January. A driver hit him while he was walking.

"I wonder what the driver was doing when he was crossing. How do you not see a 6-foot-3 man crossing the street?” Cordtz’s stepdaughter Carrie Lance told 11 News at the time.

In June, Vincent Romero was killed in this speed-fueled accident. He was a passenger in the car. When police say the driver was going extremely fast, lost control and flipped the vehicle. The car rolled the length of a football field.

Just a few weeks later a father was stabbed because of a road rage confrontation.

His adult sons were followed home by an angry, and dangerous driver. He came out to help and was attacked. He survived.

"The artery was hit under the arm really close to my lung. Another quarter-inch, he would have punctured my lung,” Gordon Salazar said.

In the last week of June, Vernon Werre was killed in an alleged drunk driving accident. His brother was driving, reportedly ran a stop sign and crashed into a bridge wall.

Colorado Springs police know these issues far too well. It's something they respond to on a daily basis, but it doesn't get any easier.

"Just because we wear badges doesn't mean we don't have human emotions. It affects all of us,” Koch said.

In the next few weeks, we're digging deeper into each of these issues and what police are doing to address them, along with our partners at The Gazette. No more families should have to bury their loved ones from these preventable crashes.