8 injured -- 4 critically -- in 3-vehicle crash on I-225 in Aurora early Saturday

AURORA, Colo. - Eight people were injured -- four critically -- in a three-vehicle crash that closed southbound Interstate 225 for four hours early Saturday morning.

The chain-reaction crash happened about 12: 11 a.m. on southbound I-225, north of Colfax Avenue.

A tan minivan had broken down and was parked on the shoulder of the center median, Aurora Police Traffic Lt. Jeff Turner said in a Facebook post. The driver of a gold minivan stopped to help, making a U-turn in the southbound lanes and parking facing north, nose-to-nose with the disabled tan minivan.

But efforts to jump start the disabled minivan failed.

As the gold minivan attempted to leave the area, the driver turned into the left through lane of traffic, into the path of a red car, Turner said. The red car struck the front passenger side of the gold minivan.  The impact spun the gold minivan more than 180 degrees and into the center-divider barrier.

The red car veered to the right, striking a blue car that was also traveling southbound, Turner said. The red car came to rest against the right highway barrier wall.  The blue car spun 180 degrees in the middle of the roadway.  Debris from the impact may have struck the tan minivan parked on the shoulder.

There were four other people in the gold minivan at the time of the wreck.  A female front-seat passenger was seriously injured and transported to a hospital.  She is expected to survive.  Two other rear-seat passengers suffered non-life threatening injuries and were transported to a hospital.

There were four people in the red car, all were critically injured and transported to local hospitals.  The front-seat passenger has life-threatening injuries, Turned said. The other critically injured individuals are expected to survive. Investigators found the driver and front-seat passenger were not wearing seatbelts.

There were four people in the tan minivan. Three were uninjured and one had a minor injury, possibly from flying debris, Turner said. Two people who had been in the gold minivan, were standing beside the tan minivan at the time of the accident but they were not hurt.

There were four people in the blue car and none were hurt.

Turner said investigators are having difficulty identifying the driver of the gold minivan and aren't sure if the driver fled the scene or if the driver is among the people found at the scene, but does not want to admit being the driver.

Police were not releasing names of those injured at this time.

 The complex crash investigation is ongoing. Turner said investigators do not suspect intoxication or speeding played a role in the wreck.

During the time the highway was closed, an intoxicated driver drove around the officers who were blocking the highway entrance. That driver was stopped and arrested, Turner said.

Southbound lanes reopened at about 4:15 A.M.

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