The man accused of injuring four Adams County first responders while driving impaired last week now faces multiple felony vehicular assault charges as well as a misdemeanor, according to the district attorney’s office.
Benjamin Winters, 24, was charged Wednesday with vehicular assault while driving under the influence – and fourth-degree felony – and reckless vehicular assault, which is a fifth-degree felony.
Two Commerce City police officers and two Adams County firefighters were struck by a suspected impaired driver, later identified as Winters, while investigating a separate DUI crash on Interstate 76 on the evening of Dec. 7.
A firetruck was blocking two lanes of traffic, allowing drivers to pass on the shoulder. According to police, Winters allegedly drove through police barricades before hitting the two officers and two firefighters.
"This driver, for whatever reason, found a small opening between the left shoulder and the back of the fire apparatus and decided to go around the left instead of the right, at which time he struck the four individuals who were working," said Commerce City Police Chief Darrel Guadnola.
All four first responders were taken to the hospital. One police officer and one firefighter were still in the hospital on Friday.
The incident spurred a passionate message from the police and fire departments the day after the crash.
"Being a firefighter today, walking into burning buildings is not the danger of the job anymore. It's being on the highway," South Adams County Fire Chief Ken Koger said in a Friday media briefing. "This has got to stop. I don't know what we have to do. But it's going to change."
Winters was scheduled to appear in Adams County court later Wednesday.