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Two people killed in Brighton by suspect driver during police pursuit of a stolen vehicle

The driver of a stolen vehicle, eluding Brighton officers, ran a stop sign and hit another car, killing a passenger, before hitting a pedestrian who also died at a local hospital, police said.

The incident unfolded at about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday when officers went to the area of Gaviota Avenue and Goldfinch Street on a report of a “suspicious vehicle,” a police news release said. Officers “learned” that the vehicle was being stolen and the suspect driver “rammed” an officer’s vehicle.

Another officer turned on his overheads lights, in an attempt to stop the stolen vehicle, but the driver sped off and a pursuit ensued, police said.

At Bridge and Mt. Bierstadt streets, the suspect driver ran a stop sign and hit another car.

“A female passenger in the victim’s car was ejected,” police said. She was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead. After the initial crash, the suspect driver continued on Mt. Bierstadt Street, losing control of the car and hitting a pedestrian. The pedestrian was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The pursuit lasted about two minutes, police said. The suspect, Nicholas Vilarina, 25, who suffered serious injuries in the incident, is in custody. A 25-year-old woman in the stolen car was also treated at the hospital for injuries.

“Today has been a very difficult day for our community. Loss of life is never easy, in this case, the loss of people who were going about their everyday lives,” said Chief Paul Southard in the release. “Our hearts are heavy for the families and friends of both individuals whose lives were tragically cut short, as well as the other victims of the crash.”

The 17th Judicial District Critical Incident Investigation Team and the North Metro Accident Investigation Team will investigate the police pursuit and subsequent fatal crashes.

The officers involved, per department policy, have been placed on paid administrative leave.

 

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