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Driver In Fatal Trooper Crash Says Accelerator Was Stuck

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - The driver accused of killing a Colorado State Patrol cadet and critically injuring a trooper claims he crashed into them after his car malfunctioned, according to court documents.

Christopher Gebers, 27, was fleeing a traffic stop Saturday in Weld County when he plowed into the scene of a separate accident investigation being conducted by state troopers, authorities say. He hit cadet Taylor Thyfault, 21, and Trooper Clinton Rushing, 37, while they were putting out spikes to stop Gebers.

Taylor Thyfault Clinton Rushing
Taylor Thyfault, left, Clinton Rushing, right (credit: CBS)

Witnesses heard Gebers say the crash wasn't his fault because the emergency brake on his Honda locked up and the accelerator was stuck, according to Gebers' arrest affidavit. Gebers gave police the same account. Investigators planned on checking out the car Gebers was driving to see if his story holds up.

Gebers, who was treated for injuries from the crash, was being held at the Boulder County jail Monday and was expected to appear in court Tuesday. It's not known if he has a lawyer yet. He's being held without bond.

Christopher Gebers Chris Gebers
(credit: Colorado State Patrol)

According to court documents, Gebers' record has 16 entries, mostly for drugs and weapons offenses. He was driving on a suspended license and believed to be going between 80 and 100 miles per hour when the crash occurred.

Authorities called Thyfault a hero for trying to save the life of tow truck driver Rusty Melvin.

Melvin said he was walking around his tow truck to put a railing in place when Thyfault yelled, "Get off the road! Get off the road!"

Taylor Thyfault
Taylor Thyfault (credit: Facebook)

A roadside memorial has been set up at the crash site.

"I saw the accident on Saturday and I wanted to put up a flag here … on Sunday there was only one flag and a few flowers," said Diane Noble who went to the site on Monday to pay her respects. "By the time I came back from town Sunday afternoon it had grown."

CSP CHASE CRASH Colorado state patrol  Christopher Gebers  Clinton Rushing  Taylor Thyfault
An image from the scene (credit: CBS)

"This is essentially a line of duty death whether or not he was an active police officer," Trooper Josh Lewis told CBS4 on Saturday. "He was certainly doing his best to serve Colorado."

(credit: CBS)

Gebers now faces charges of first-degree murder with extreme indifference, attempted first-degree murder with extreme indifference and vehicular homicide.

Rushing is improving but faces a long recovery, Lewis said Monday. He said both the Rushing and Thyfault families do not want to talk about what happened yet.

Additional Resources

A GoFundMe fund has been set up to support Rushing in his recovery, and Thyfault 's family.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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