Police: Wrong-way driver kills motorcyclist at Academy and Palmer Park intersection

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A drunk wrong-way driver slammed into a motorcyclist at a busy Colorado Springs intersection, then left the rider behind to die.

"He struck the motorcycle," said Lt. Howard Black with the Colorado Springs Police Department. "He then proceeded to park in the parking lot. He then left his vehicle on foot."

The rider was left lying in the middle of the North Academy and Palmer Park intersection.

"When officers arrived on scene they found a motorcyclist in the roadway with traumatic injuries," Black said.

The rider died a short time later. Police say he was not wearing a helmet.

The crash happened at 10:26 Monday night. Investigators are still sorting out how it happened, but believe the suspect was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Academy when he hit the motorcyclist.

The driver made it to a nearby 24 Hour Fitness before police caught up with him. Identified by police as 25-year-old Kevin Lopez, he is now facing charges of vehicular homicide and DUI.

If the coroner makes the expected ruling that the rider's death was a traffic fatality, it will be the 38th traffic-related death in 2018. At this time last year -- currently the deadliest year on the roads in Colorado Springs at 39 fatalities -- 27 people had been killed in crashes.

"This is a community issue," Black said of the escalation in deadly collisions this year. "We all see the speeds, the distracted driving that's occurring.

"It's really up to us to be responsible when we get behind that motor vehicle."