• Two Killed in Dodge Hellcat High-Speed Crash in Colorado [News]

    Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
    TFL’s Hellcat at the Colorado Mile airport run. [photo: TFL]

    Deadly Hellcat Crash on a Colorado Airport Runway

    As reported by the Denver Post yesterday, two men in their 70s were killed after crashing in their 2016 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat at Central Colorado Regional Airport in Buena Vista, Colorado. The men were authorized to use the 8,300-foot long runway for a speed run of their 707-horsepower muscle car. The runway is one of the longest in the Colorado mountains.

    According to the local sheriff’s department, the car continued off the end of the runway for another 314 feet, then “it went through the air over a ravine before hitting the ground. The car bounced back into the air again, flipped end over end over a second ravine, and landed on its wheels,” according to the Post report.

    The car ended up approximately 650 feet beyond the end of the runway. Lynd Fitzgerald, age 71, of Colorado Springs, with Roger Lichtenberger, 76, of San Marcos, California were pronounced dead at the scene. Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze speculated that the duo were going too fast to realize that they’d run out of runway and needed to slow down.

    A Hellcat at 175 mph?

    There were no witnesses to confirm just how fast the Hellcat was traveling, but TFL clocked 167 mph in its Hellcat at the Colorado Mile speed run, held at 5,512 feet in elevation at the Front Range Airport outside Denver. That top speed was reached in 5,280 feet. So how much faster Lichtenberger and Fitzgerald traveled in those 3,000 additional feet? We imagine it was better than 175 mph, even with at the Buena Vista airport’s 7,950-foot elevation.

    As TFL’s professional driver, Paul Gerrard, noted during our speed runs at the Colorado Mile, the car starts to “move” at those high, triple digit speeds, affecting handling.

    Central Colorado Regional Airport Buena Vista
    The car careened of the south end of the runway noted with the no. 33. [photo: CDOT]

    Grant Davis
    Grant Davis
    Grant Davis is the Marketing Manager for TFLcar. Since 2006, he's found himself in the driver's seat of a more than 200 cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, and the occasional watercraft as a longtime writer for Outside Magazine/Outside online and other adventure-oriented media. He's based in Denver and has a love/hate relationship with his 11-year-old minivan.

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    19 thoughts on “Two Killed in Dodge Hellcat High-Speed Crash in Colorado [News]

    1. Wow! Very sad!

      Given your run info above…if they were traveling 175MPH or more with 3,000 feet of runway remaining, they’d only have 10 seconds or less before running out of runway.

      1. Anything over 35 mph is quite deadly, and anything at all is deadly when pedestrians are involved. So be careful and don’t use your car as your joy toy. Go on a track.

    2. 170 MPH is 250 feet per second. If you can achieve 1 G deceleration (in the ballpark of the best they could hope for) it would take 7.8 seconds to stop, during which it will cover 975 feet…in other works, when they got to the 1000 foot markers (the first sign of the approaching runway end) they needed to be under maximum braking. It looks like they were 2 or 3 seconds late initiating braking, or at least maximum braking. It’s not obvious that you’d need 1,000 feet to stop until you do the math.

    3. I wonder what vehicle has killed more people the Ford Mustang ,Shelby Daytona or the dodge hellcat that is a very interesting question

      1. Very sad story.
        Just by volume your answer would have to be Mustang.
        Literally millions of mustangs have been built over the past 50+ years.
        Only a few thousand built of the other two models listed.

        1. Thanx that makes since and yes sad story Rest In Peace to the two . So I guess the hellcat replaces the viper as the out of control Chrysler product I guess driver aids don’t help that much do they.

    4. Just wondering here, but do your calculations include the reduced air density? I live 2 miles from this airport, and I have reached speeds of 140mph in this area, you have 2 problems, handling gets very sketchy around 115mph, and braking is reduced, you really can’t use maximum braking because you’re not planted to the pavement. Very sad for the families.

    5. So was it a demon or hellcat? I’m seeing both. As a owner of a car that has 800+hp, i believe banning the specific vehicle is out of the question. Was it confirmed how fast they were going. Many cars can get to that speed, so without human error, the speed, not the car, is the issue. If anything, require manufactures to implement some type of roll cage for cars that have 700+ hp. Don’t just ban the car. What’s next, banning performance parts.

    6. Well first off you get 800+hp with the hellcat with a simple pully upgrade and e85 400 bucks worth of stuff so most likely a hellcat

    7. Having flown there a couple times on XC and floated long and touched down heavy having some fun and training, I can say you run out of runway very quickly up there, whether it be in a car or plane. Sad news indeed. That is why we make these quick calculations. Minus and car malfunctions, I would say the driver had more money than sense and didn’t do his proper briefs before taking his and another life in his hands.

    8. Not one person mentioned the brake fluid boiling. At racing conditions, applying the brakes heavy at that speed will cause the fluid to boil (from the heat of the rotors) and your brake feels like a wet sponge, these enthusiasts on a closed course, having fun safely, not harming anyone else, may have applied their brakes at the right time and the brakes faded away. It may have cost them their lives, very said if that were the case. No one will ever know. Im sure someone would say the factory should put the racing stuff in new, but the car is a car first, if you race it or drive it pass legal speeds, it would be the drivers responsibility. Just be safe and ask alot of questions to professionals before doing something so daring. RIP

    9. There is a reason races like the Texas Mile require parachutes for cars in 200mph club. I have a 2012 Boss 302 with a lot of modifications, including monster cooling ducts blowing on cross-drilled and slotted rotors and it still takes a LONG time to get stopped. If they made more than one run, I guarantee factory brakes weren’t capable of stopping them

    10. Well first off almost all srts come with high end brake lines and heavy duty fluid so that is a mute point however the rotors the fact they use traditional rotors on the hellcat and demon is crazy bonkers.

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