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Pedestrian killed by vehicle stepped into traffic, Durango police say

Man hit identified as Wayne Brown, 65, of Durango

A Durango man who was struck and killed by a car near Home Depot on South Camino del Rio is believed to have stepped in front of the vehicle to end his own life, according to the Durango Police Department.

The man was identified as Wayne Brown, 65, of Durango. Brown was reportedly experiencing homelessness and had been living in a van.

For help

Help for people having suicidal thoughts or for those who fear a person is considering suicide:

Axis Care Hotline:

24/7 local response to your crisis & behavioral health needs: (970) 247-5245

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE:

(800) 273-TALK (8255) or text “TALK” to 741741

RED NACIONAL DE PREVENCIÓN DEL SUICIDIO:

(888) 628-9454

FORT LEWIS COLLEGE COUNSELING CENTER:

247-7212

BOYS TOWN HOTLINE:

(800) 448-3000.

SAFE2TELL COLORADO:

(877) 542-7233 or safe2tell.org

COLORADO CRISIS SUPPORT LINE:

(844) 493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 or online at coloradocrisisservices.org to access a live chat available in 17 languages. The line has mental-health professionals available to talk to adults or youths 24 hours a day.

AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION:

Colorado chapter information available at afsp.org/chapter/afsp-colorado/

FOR MEN:

A website for adult men contemplating suicide is available at mantherapy.org

“Tragically, it appears the male pedestrian was standing in the median of the highway, allowing some cars to pass by him before he suddenly stepped out in front of a single vehicle traveling northbound,” Durango PD wrote Wednesday on its Facebook page. “The car struck the male and continued driving.”

The crash occurred around 6:30 a.m. Sunday in the 1300 block of South Camino del Rio. Officers arrived to find Brown deceased on the shoulder of the northbound lane of traffic.

Because the driver failed to stop and report the crash, Durango police had little to work with in identifying the vehicle or the driver that hit Brown.

Local businesses reviewed hours of surveillance video, “which was critical to understanding the events in this case,” police said. Surveillance video from Cenex Ampride gas station captured the incident, said Durango police Cmdr. Nick Stasi.

Brown was on the median when he walked in front of a small hatchback driving north on the inside lane – closest to the median, Stasi said.

“(Brown) got thrown essentially across both lanes of traffic onto the grass shoulder between the highway and that frontage road,” Stasi said.

Detectives received a phone call on Tuesday from someone claiming to be the driver involved in the crash. The driver was cooperative with the investigation and was interviewed at the police station, Stasi said.

The driver told police he was heading to work and thought he hit a deer.

“He was very forthcoming,” Stasi said. “Even during the interview, he still didn't quite believe that he had struck a person. We're inclined to believe that is true.”

The crash occurred shortly before sunrise, Stasi said.

“It was the time of day where cars still need to be having headlights on to drive safely,” he said.

Police declined to identify the driver, saying no charges had been filed as of Thursday.

Colorado law requires all drivers to remain on the scene of a crash and immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency, even if the crash only involves property damage.

“There is no evidence to believe the driver was impaired during the crash,” the DPD Facebook post reads. “This case is being investigated as a suicide and is being reviewed for charges against the driver.”

Stasi encouraged residents to support each other, and if people are experiencing suicidal thoughts, they should call a hotline or seek professional help.

“There's local community groups who are able to work with that, whether it be Axis Health or any of the other groups that people want to lean on,” he said.

shane@durangoherald.com



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