2 die in wrong-way crash on Kipling Parkway in Jefferson County

CSP: Wrong-way driver may have been DWI

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - The Colorado State Patrol said  the driver a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe, who caused a deadly crash, may have been driving while impaired.

Troopers said 39-year-old Armando Mendez was going north in the southbound lanes of Kipling Parkway between West Chatfield and West Ken Caryl Avenues, when he hit a 2001 Jeep Cherokee.  The Cherokee rolled one time and collided with a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee that was traveling behind the 2001 Jeep.

Both Mendez and the driver of the first jeep that was hit -- 66-year-old Diane Iannella -- were killed. Both were from Littleton. 

A fourth vehicle, a white pickup, swerved onto the grass to avoid the crash.

No one in the 2004 Jeep  or pickup was injured.  The crashes happened shortly after 9 p.m.

"I heard the tires screeching and I stepped up from my water bed and walked to my window and got a perfect view of everything," Carmine Mancuso said. "The (Tahoe) had been coming up northbound on Kipling, the wrong side of the road."

The Jefferson County Coroner said toxicology results will take several weeks.

The Colorado State Patrol said Mendez was not wearing a seat belt.

Mendez does not have a history of driving problems or a criminal record.  He had just begun working at 7NEWS as a master control operator on March 31.

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