The driver of a car that crashed in El Jebel on Thursday after a suspected heroin overdose received four tickets for alleged violations after he was treated for minor injuries, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Tyler Skelton, 29, of Carbondale, was cited on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, possession of a Class 1 controlled substance, careless driving and no proof of insurance, according to Sgt. Dave Evridge, of the State Patrol. Skelton is being held at the Eagle County Jail on $7,500 bond.
Skelton’s accident occurred at 4:10 p.m. Thursday as he headed downvalley on Highway 82. His sedan jumped the right curb of Highway 82, skirted a bus stop, sheared a traffic sign and smashed into the end cap of a guardrail near El Jebel Road. The car traveled 96 feet after climbing the curb, Evridge said. Skelton was alone in the vehicle.
The first responder on the scene, a member of the Basalt Fire Department, started CPR after Skelton was pulled from the vehicle. An Eagle County sheriff’s deputy found a burnt spoon, a syringe and a baggie in the car and reported the findings to Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson, who immediately relayed to the ambulance crew that the case was a possible heroin overdose.
Skelton had a pulse but wasn’t breathing on his own when the ambulance departed, according to officials. However, the ambulances carry an antidote for heroin.
Evridge said he couldn’t discuss details of Skelton’s treatment because of federal laws protecting the rights of people receiving medical care. However, he said Skelton suffered only minor injuries after his vehicle’s air bag deployed in the incident. Skelton was booked into the Eagle County Jail at about 8 p.m.
Skelton told investigators he didn’t remember the accident happening.
Heroin overdoses hit soon after ingestion, but Evridge said the investigation didn’t produce any theories about Skelton’s activities prior to the accident.
“Our information was the driver was slumped over the wheel leading up to the accident,” he said.
The trooper said it was fortunate no one was on the curb at the bus stop at the time of the accident and that it was equally fortunate that Skelton’s car didn’t veer to the left and collide head-on with oncoming traffic. When a driver loses consciousness, “it’s obviously good when nobody ends up dying,” Evridge said.
A substance found in the vehicle tested positive in the field for heroin, Evridge said. A laboratory test will be conducted for verification. The drug arrest was for suspected possession of heroin.