The more information that emerges about a fatal accident that took place late on Wednesday night, the stranger this tragic story becomes.
Commerce City police now believe two men were involved in a road-rage fight when a third vehicle struck and killed one of the combatants. Moreover, that driver, identified as 47-year-old Maria Ortega, may have been intoxicated. Additional photos and details below.
According to the Commerce City Police Department, the incident took place just past 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday on the 5700 block of Interstate 270, an area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have problems seeing the image, click "View Larger Map."
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The initial CCPD report described what happened in the simplest terms: Two parties "involved in a property damage accident" had exited their vehicles when one of them was hit and killed by another car. But as the investigation continued, the details became more complicated.
Investigators now describe the original crash as "an apparent road rage incident" during which one vehicle rear-ended the other.
Afterward, the two drivers left their vehicles and got into a "physical altercation." There's no mention of how far into the roadway the fight may have gotten -- but that's when Ortega, behind the wheel of a maroon Land Rover, impacted one of the men. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Neither the victim nor the other man involved in the first accident have been identified at this writing -- and while the survivor was questioned by the police, he has not been arrested.
Ortega didn't hit and run. Instead, she stayed at the scene -- and when she was given a roadside test for alcohol impairment, she didn't "complete it satisfactorily," the CCPD notes. As such, she was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Meanwhile, police are asking for anyone who may have seen the incident or has additional information to reach out. The number to dial is 303-289-3626.
Here's a full-size look at Ortega's booking photo.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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