Limon, CO – A 68-year-old man driving the wrong direction on a major highway struck an off-duty Denver police detective’s vehicle on Saturday, killing his six year-old daughter and the family dog.
Denver Police Detective Jared Purdy and his daughter, Reagan, were returning from a hunting trip at about 5:50 pm on Nov. 17 when they encountered a vehicle driving up the wrong side of Interstate 70 near Limon.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis told Blue Lives Matter that a 2006 Toyota SUV driven by Gary Williams of Parker was driving eastbound in the westbound lanes of I-70 when the crash occurred.
Det. Purdy, 33, swerved his own vehicle to avoid a head-on collision, and his 2007 Toyota pickup truck was struck broadside by Williams’ SUV, according to police.
“He attempted to avoid the collision, but ultimately the front of the SUV hit the right side of the pickup truck,” Trooper Lewis explained.
He said police did not know how long Williams was driving on the wrong side of the road before he encountered Det. Purdy’s truck.
The detective’s daughter, six-year-old Reagan, was declared dead at the scene of the crash, Trooper Lewis told Blue Lives Matter.
The family dog, Elbe, was also killed in the crash, according to a Facebook post to the Blue Lives Matter Colorado group (which is not directly affiliated with Blue Lives Matter).
Det. Purdy suffered “severe injuries” in the crash, including a lacerated liver. He was wearing his seatbelt when his truck was hit, Trooper Lewis said.
The detective was transported to Lincoln Community Hospital for treatment, police said.
Williams was not wearing his seatbelt and also sustained injuries in the crash, according to Trooper Lewis. He was taken to the same hospital for treatment.
Trooper Lewis said Williams has since been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, child abuse resulting in death, vehicular assault, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, and driving on wrong side of a divided highway.
Six-year-old Reagan frequently accompanied her father on hunting trips, according to friends of the family.
She was a bright first grade student who loved reading, writing and dressing up in costumes.
Reagan’s favorite hobbies were horseback riding and hunting with her daddy, friends told Blue Lives Matter.
She loved to spend family time with Det. Purdy and her mother, Jessica, as well as play games with her sister.
Det. Purdy has been a member of the Denver Police Department for 12 years. He is currently an investigations detective for the department.
A GoFundMe has been established by friends to help the family with the funeral costs and other expenses.
An account has also been set up at the Rocky Mountain Law Enforcement Federal Credit Union, 700 W. 39th Avenue, Denver, CO 80216. Donations should be made to the “R. Purdy Memorial Fund” at Account No. 23021827.
Denver 911 is hosting two days of fundraising meals to help Det. Purdy’s family at the Radio Room located at 950 Josephine Street in Denver. The meals will be offered on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 for several hours each starting at 7 a.m., 12 noon, and 5 p.m., and the community is welcome.