2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Crash: Totaled in Colorado after 1 Hour from Purchase [Updated]

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat crash in Colorado 3 photos
Photo: Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Facebook page
2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat crash in Colorado2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat crash in Colorado: the road
When the NHTSA released the 2015 Dodge Challenger crash test results earlier this week, watching the muscle car getting crushed was a bit like a nightmare. Alas, that bad dream has now turned into reality, with a man in Colorado totaling a Hellcat.
There might have been other 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat crashes so far (we're not aware of any though), but this is definitely the first serious one. Little is known about the accident, but, as you can see in the image above, which comes from the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Facebook page, we are dealing with one hell of a muscle rupture.

Perhaps some parts of the blown 6.2-liter can still be used, but that's probably the only positive part of this piece of news.

Nonetheless, the rumor mill talks about this Challenger Hellcat being wrecked just one hour after exiting the dealer lot. Still, since we are not aware of the details, we can't be sure about the connection that can be made between this crash and the McLaren P1 accident that took place in Dallas last month - the hypercar was seriously crashed just one day after being purchased.

How safe is the 2015 Challenger?

As we said, the revamped Challenger was tested by the NHTSA, earning a five-star overall safety rating. Note that the pre-revamp 2014 Challenger had a safety concern regarding the door opening during the side impact test, but that was addressed.

A deeper look reveals the Challenger received a four-star rating for the front and rollover crash tests, while getting five stars for the side impact tests. Still, the tested vehicles was a V6-powered SXT, not the Hellcat. Just one of the 707 reasons for you to stay sharp if you're reading this with a Challenger Hellcat key in your pocket.

Update: we contacted the local authorities on Sunday evening, but there was no information available on the matter at that time.

However, it seems the crash took place near Brighton, Colorado, in the proximity of the South Platte river in Adams County, just northeast of Denver. Tflcar has a few details and pictures of what is claimed to be the accident of the first Challenger Hellcat in Colorado.

"The skid marks at the scene of the accident show that the driver was traveling north. As the car crested the blind hill, the road drops down to the right, and the Hellcat may have been in a slight drift. The road is very narrow, but in good condition, well marked, and with a posted 40 MPH speed limit sign. The car started to drift toward the right ditch after the speed limit sign. The driver tried to correct, but the resulting over-correction sent the car across the lane and into a large cottonwood tree. Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic at this moment," the aforementioned source writes.

There's still no info on the driver's condition though, but, as Tflcar mentions, the December temperatures in the area, which can go below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C), don't allow the Hellcat's factory performance tires to show optimal behavior.

Nonetheless, the Challenger SRT Hellcat can be had with either P275/40ZR20 Pirelli P Zero Nero tires, which provide four-season coverage and therefore would've been suitable for the Colorado drive, or the available Pirelli P Zero rubber, which offers three-season assets. The latter is not compatible with temperatures such as the aforementioned ones.

Judging by the post-crash image of the car (below), it appears this Hellcat was wearing the P Zero tires, which means the Challenger was rather short on grip. Not something you want in the most powerful production metal in the history of the musclecar.

Update 2: A report from the Colorado State Patrol sheds further light on the incident:

"This crash took place at 8:07pm MST on December 19th, 2014. The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat driver, 34-year-old Lance Utley of Winter Park, CO, was traveling northbound on Riverdale Rd. The driver lost control to the right, then overcorrected and lost control to the left, and struck a tree head on. There were two additional occupants in the vehicle. The driver was charged with careless driving. Drugs or alcohol were not involved. There was no mention of excessive speeding. All three occupants were unhurt."

Still, it's interesting how the driver lost control given the lack of speeding info, but perhaps the speedometer would tell an interesting story if it could speak. For the recrod, there's a well-marked 40 mph speed limit in the area.
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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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