Erica Pantoja Killed in Crash with Dump Truck on Las Vegas St in Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs, CO — November 29, 2022, 27-year-old Erica Pantoja died in a collision with a garbage truck on East Las Vegas Street in Colorado Springs.
Authorities say the incident happened around 8:00 a.m. on the 2200 block of Las Vegas Street. Preliminary investigation suggests Pantoja was driving a car north on the roadway when she allegedly crossed over the center line. After entering the oncoming lane the car collided with a southbound garbage truck.
Pantoja was pronounced dead at the scene. No other injuries were reported.
Police continue to investigate the crash, including whether snowy conditions and slick roads were factors.
No further information is available at this time.
Commentary on Erica Pantoja Accident in Colorado Springs
People have an unfortunate tendency to quickly blame crossover accidents on the driver who went left of center. The standard reasoning is that they must have done something wrong to go off-course like that; while that may sometimes be the case, it's far from universal. Police mentioned wet roads and snowy conditions may have been factors, but on top of that a tire blowout, mechanical failures or defects, a medical emergency, or any number of other issues might also have contributed. Ensuring all those possibilities get proper attention is where things may get challenging.
Little as I like saying it, police efforts aren't always enough to uncover the whole truth of a crash like this. I've even seen some incidents where law enforcement completely misinterpreted a scene and came to the wrong conclusions. In a crossover wreck not long ago, for example, they claimed a car crossed the center line and hit an 18-wheeler. When we actually looked at the evidence, though, it was clear that the 18-wheeler was the one that crossed over first after its driver fell asleep at the wheel.
If police can make mistakes like that, there may be all kinds of other subtle details that slip through the cracks. I try to make people aware of the potential pitfalls of a "by the book" investigation so they understand what might be missed--as well as who may stand a better chance of catching it.