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3 dead, 2 injured after van crashes into pedestrians in Aurora

Police believe driver suffered unknown medical episode
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Posted at 2:14 PM, Oct 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 00:36:38-04

AURORA, Colo. — Police said three people are dead and two others injured after a van crashed into multiple pedestrians in Aurora Wednesday afternoon.

The Aurora Police Department said two pedestrians — both women — and the driver of the van, a man, are among the confirmed fatalities. Two other people were injured.

The crash happened around 1 p.m. on East Illiff Avenue near the intersection of South Buckley Road.

Francisco Saucedo, Aurora police spokesman, said the driver of a white 2003 Chevrolet Astro van was traveling westbound on East Illiff Avenue when he apparently suffered an unknown medical episode and swerved into a group of pedestrians on the sidewalk. In an evening update, the department said the van then crashed into a tree.

Multiple witnesses told Denver7 the driver of a van jumped the curb, and hit at least three pedestrians.

A family member said the two women killed were sisters from Colombia visiting family on vacation. They were in town for about two months and had purchased their plane tickets to head back to Bogotá. He said the family is still processing what happened.

Saucedo said the van that struck the pedestrians was occupied by two individuals, one of whom, the driver, was pronounced deceased at the scene. It's believed that he died because of the medical emergency, the department later confirmed. The passenger, a woman, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries.

Robbie Dejong said she was driving down the road when she saw the crash scene. She immediately stopped to help, along with two other women. She said they tried to perform CPR on the victims.

"Their spirit wasn’t there it was gone. We still did what we knew we had to do," Dejong said. "You just never know when it’s your turn, when it’s your time."

Vernae Jackson lives in the area and was immediately worried kids may have been involved because of the schools nearby.

"The thing is all the kids that go to this school, they walk, so that was my biggest concern," Jackson said. "I didn’t know they were out of school≤ and when I seen it, I'm rushing like, is it kids?"

Saucedo said during a briefing shortly after the incident that he could not release any additional details regarding the victims, only saying all the victims were adults.

The Arapahoe County Coroner's Office will release the identities of the two female pedestrians and the male driver once their families have been notified.

East Illiff Avenue reopened at 6:15 p.m.

This is a developing story and will be updated once more information is available.