Man killed in crash was cited repeatedly, records show
August 14, 2008
SNOWMASS VILLAGE ” Snowmass Village police believe that Hector Quezada was behind the wheel in the rollover accident that cost him his life Sunday, and a toxicology report showed he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Police records also show that Quezada, 33, an employee at the Snowmass Conference Center, was a habitual traffic offender with a history of drunken driving.
Quezada was with three friends ” Brandon Howard, 26, Ryan Williams, 29 and Moses Mogollon, 33, all of Snowmass Village ” when the 1999 Isuzu Trooper they were in crested Sinclair Divide and lost control heading downhill on Owl Creek Road toward Snowmass Village.
Quezada died on impact when he was ejected from the rolling vehicle, according to deputy coroner Michael Ferrara. The other men escaped with cuts and bruises. Autopsy results released Tuesday showed that Quezada died from blunt trauma. A toxicology report showed a 0.13 blood-alcohol content, above the state limit of 0.08, and evidence of cocaine and marijuana use. “Obviously he was impaired,” Ferrara said.
Patterns of injuries or bruising can prove that someone was behind the wheel, but Tuesday’s autopsy results were inconclusive, Ferrara said.
“He probably died upon impact,” Ferrara said. “But we could not draw any conclusions from our examination of the body.”
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Police, however, believe Quezada was driving, but said Wednesday that the case is still open pending analyses of more evidence at the Colorado Bureau of Investigations and results of ongoing interviews with witnesses.
The test results and interviews could take weeks or months.
“We are not at a point where we’ll be able to definitively say that Hector was driving, but we believe he was,” said Snowmass police Sgt. Brian Olson.
Friends and family of Quezada said that he rarely, if ever, drove, instead preferring the bus or riding with friends. He apparently had no license.
A record search of Quezada with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation produced a long list of misdemeanor and traffic offenses, including drunken driving offenses dating back to 1998, as well as felony drug possession in Garfield County.
Olson said that reports about Quezada’s alleged driving habits don’t carry much weight, and that the ultimate determination comes down to physical evidence and testimony.
Olson said there had been talk of a conspiracy, that one of the other men in the vehicle had been driving and wanted to avoid a possible criminal charge.
“We of course continue to run that scenario and try to pick apart the verbal testimony from witnesses,” Olson said. “I think we’re feeling” Quezada was driving.
But the Snowmass officer is waiting to make sure the evidence all adds up.
The other men in the car were not administered a breathalyzer following the incident, Olson said.
“There really is no probable cause to do a breathalyzer test of passengers in a vehicle,” according to Olson.
If there was evidence that someone other than Quezada was behind the wheel, however, officers could still charge one of the men with drunken driving based on other evidence, Olson said.