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.