The Speer Boulevard nightmare: How a doctor’s Subaru survived a fall into Cherry Creek

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Cherry Creek is as close to Speer Boulevard as it really is. The creek and its pedestrian paths run between and below Speer’s lanes, but it’s so quiet down there that you might forget all the cars rushing by above.

Unless you were there on Monday afternoon, that is. Then you might have seen a white Subaru Crosstrek flying off one of the walls. You might even have seen Dr. Kelet Robinson looking rather surprised in the driver’s seat.

Kelet Robinson's Subaru on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Kelet Robinson's Subaru on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Robinson had been driving southeast on Speer just before 3 p.m., heading with her daughter to meet Dad for a 9th birthday lunch at DiFranco’s.

She figures they were driving 35 mph in clear conditions near Speer and Logan Street when it happened. “My daughter said she just heard a big bang and closed her eyes,” as Robinson recalled.

That bang was another car impacting the right side of Robinson’s SUV, as far as police can tell.

“And really, before I could do anything, my car drifted. I looked over, and as I looked over we were literally flying over the wall,” said Robinson, who is the director of the Salud Family Health Center in Fort Lupton.

“I spent the next couple seconds noticing, ‘There’s a walking path, there’s a creek,’ thinking, ‘Maybe I can steer the car so we don’t end up in the water.'”

Whatever she did, it worked. The car dropped about 8 feet over the wall and onto the creekside pathway, narrowly missing a head-on collision with another wall and a bollard before plowing into a pile of snow.

“I was expecting it to be bad — the airbag popped me in the face,” she said. But when she took a quick self-assessment, the family physician found nothing wrong but a bloody nose.

A police officer's reconstruction of the crash that put Kelet Robinson's vehicle on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Denver Police Department)

A police officer's reconstruction of the crash that put Kelet Robinson's vehicle on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Denver Police Department)

Then Robinson turned to her daughter in the backseat.

“No, I’m fine. Dial 911,” the young girl said.

The mother obliged. As the phone rang, she heard a banging on the window. She thought that it would be the driver who had plowed her off the road — but instead she saw that it was a jogger who had witnessed the crash.

“She dug me out of the snow, because the snow was packed against the side of my car, the door,” she recalled. Police and firefighters came soon after, and a tow truck was able to haul the damaged car up a nearby ramp within an hour.

Neither Robinson nor her daughter saw the car that apparently hit them, but a witness told an officer that a white SUV had indeed cut across three lanes of traffic and struck Robinson’s Subaru, sending it down into the creekbed.

Kelet Robinson's Subaru on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Kelet Robinson's Subaru narrowly avoided a pole and wall. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Robinson faces no charges, citations or accusations of wrongdoing related to the crash, and a crash report provided by Denver Police Department fully supports her account of the crash. No one was seriously injured.

Anyone with information about the crash may call DPD at 720-913-2000.

“It is concerning that someone would do that to someone else and leave, and not come back to check that they’re OK,” Robinson said. However, she added, “I’m more satisfied that so many people who weren’t involved at all actually came over to see that we were OK.”

Oh, and about that Subaru: The mechanics say they can fix it.

Kelet Robinson and her daughter, Abigail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Kelet Robinson and her daughter, Abigail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Kelet Robinson's Subaru on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)

Kelet Robinson's Subaru on the Cherry Creek Trail. (Courtesy Kelet Robinson)