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4 dead, 4 injured in 2-vehicle crash in Commerce City; loved ones speak out about tragedy

Hwy 85 deadly Commerce City crash
Posted at 9:32 AM, Feb 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 22:59:57-05

Editor's note: The Commerce City Police Department erroneously reported the death count following the crash and issued a correction on Monday. The initially said five people were killed but later said only four victims were pronounced deceased. This story has been corrected.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Four people were killed, and four others were injured in a two-vehicle crash in Commerce City Friday night, according to police.

The crash occurred around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of East 112th Avenue and U.S. Highway 85.

Witnesses told police that a newer model SUV was speeding southbound on U.S. 85 when it collided with another SUV that was turning left onto East 112th Avenue from U.S. 85.

It’s unclear which vehicle had a green light.

Emergency responders arrived at the intersection shortly after and found four people dead at the scene.

Four others were transported to the hospital, the Commerce City Police Department said in a news release.

Ashley Hoffman identified her 16-year-old nephew, John Bledsoe, as one of the victims.

"It was something that changed my life forever," the aunt said.

Ashley Hoffman spoke alongside her mother, Susan Hoffman, in an interview with Denver7.

The pair said their other loved one, 13-year-old Joe Bledsoe, was left seriously injured in the crash.

"He's awake once in a while. He wakes up and goes to sleep but he's got a broken back and a broken eye socket and he's got a brain injury," Susan Hoffman said.

The conditions of the other survivors are unknown at this time, and police didn't provide the identities of anyone else involved.

Saturday evening, loved ones came forward to identify 15-year-old Michael David Burkhard Diaz as another victim.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Bledsoe teens and another page has been set up for Diaz.

The grandfather of one of the victims, Anayah Whitehorn, confirmed the 15-year-old is in the hospital and had to go into surgery as a result of her injuries, which include a brain bleed, spine injury, broken ribs and broken legs.

"It's like every parent's worst nightmare," Bruce said. "The car Anayah was in, I'm surprised anyone survived in that. The car just looked like somebody dropped it off a bridge. The fact that anybody lived through that is a miracle."

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help their family. Additionally, this GoFundMe page has been set up to the help the family of Chelsea Christos, another survivor of the crash.

In a statement, Jeffco Public Schools confirmed some of the students attended the Standley Lake High School.

"This tragedy will be felt across Standley Lake High School and will likely impact staff and students in other Jeffco schools who know the students involved," the statement says. " A Jeffco Public Schools crisis team will be on site to support Standley Lake High School students and staff members and work to reach other impacted students and schools as needed as they process these very difficult circumstances."

Investigators believe speed was a contributing factor in the crash. They are also looking into whether alcohol played a role.

Southbound U.S. Highway 85 was closed in the area following the crash.