A woman was cited for careless driving in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 70 last month which resulted in eastbound traffic backups where a fatal, fiery crash later occurred.
Marina Kharkova, 30, of Northglenn, was cited by Wheat Ridge police in the April 25 collision which involved her car, a 2016 Nissan Sentra, a semi-truck and a school bus, according to a traffic investigation report.
There were minor injuries only in the Wheat Ridge incident. Some students from the school bus were taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure, treated and released.
Kharkova, according to the traffic report, was driving eastbound on I-70, “cutting in and out of traffic” when she changed lanes, from the center to left lane, and “cut off” a semi-truck as traffic was slowing down. The 1996 Kenworth truck, driven by Douglas Aldrich, 57, of Aurora, hit the rear end of the Nissan and Kharkova lost control of her car, leaving the lane and coming to a stop on the shoulder.
Aldrich told investigators: “I did everything I could to not hit hit that bus with the kids in it, I think that’s why I jacked knifed,” according to the report.
The Kenworth, however, did clip the back of the bus, according to the report. “I thought I missed them,” Aldrich said. The bus veered off the road and came to a stop.
Aldrich and Kharkova were checked for injuries on scene and cleared. The collision shut down the eastbound lanes at about 3:50 p.m., the report said. Heavy traffic began backing up.
About an hour later, and about 5 miles west, an eastbound out-of-control semi truck, driven by Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, of Texas, slammed into stalled traffic at the Denver West interchange on I-70. The fiery, chain-reaction crash involving 28 vehicles killed four people.
Aguilera-Mederos had been charged with 36 felonies, a traffic misdemeanor and three sentence enhancers that could add prison time on any convictions. The charges include four counts of vehicular homicide, six counts of first-degree assault and 24 counts of attempted first-degree assault. He remains in custody.
Aguilera-Mederos’s next court hearing is scheduled for July 11.
Kharkova has a summons to appear in Jefferson County Court on June 4.