Taxi driver killed, 4 others hurt after crash early Monday morning in Denver

Police: Buick driver ran red light

DENVER - A 29-year old cab driver was killed and four other people were injured when a car apparently ran a red light and slammed into the taxi early Monday morning.

Investigators told 7NEWS that a green Buick was traveling west on 17th Avenue when it hit  the southbound taxi at Colorado Boulevard just before 1 a.m.  The Buick rolled, landing on its top.

The speed limit in the area is 30 miles per hour, but investigators believe the driver of the Buick may have been going much faster, police said.

The taxi driver died at the scene.

"He was a great guy. Loved driving taxis. Had done so for 3 years," said Randy Jensen, Yellow Cab General Manager.

"We're still reaching out to his family. He had two young children. It's very unfortunate," Jensen said. The victim's children are 11 and 13 years old.

Family friends identified the cab driver as Junior Soko of Aurora.

"He was a friendly guy and a hard worker, who loved to play soccer," said Dubay Yacob. "He was saving money to open his own (auto-related) business."

Yacob told 7NEWS that he can't believe that his friend, who is originally from Liberia, is gone.

"It's crazy," he said. "We were talking around 11:00 last night."

Soko's home was filled with grieving family members and friends Monday afternoon. "They're in shock," said a family spokesman.

A 62-year old male passenger in the taxi was hospitalized in critical condition. Police said the cab driver and his passenger were both wearing seatbelts and that their airbags deployed.

Police also say the three people in the Buick, two men and a  woman, all in their 20s, were hospitalized in critical condition.

Police said arriving officers found some of the Buick's occupants on the pavement.

"We're going to be using science and forensics to prove who we believe was driving," said Sgt. Mike Farr of the Denver Police Department. "We're not going to talk about that just yet.  But we believe they were unrestrained at the time of the collision."

The last deadly accident involving a Yellow Cab in Colorado was in 2008, according to Jensen.

Watch Denver police do a "skid test" as part of the crash investigation below. Mobile users can watch the video here: http://ch7ne.ws/YWVAuv