No new charges in fatal Hwy. 82 crash
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office has determined that no additional charges are warranted against a trucker for his role in a Jan. 8 accident on Highway 82 that killed two people.
Deputy District Attorney Jim Leuthauser said he reviewed the case and concluded that the state trooper who investigated the accident took appropriate action with a summons and complaint against truck driver Mark Chamness for four alleged violations.
Chamness was issued tickets for suspicion of careless driving causing death; careless driving causing bodily injury; stopping in an intersection when prohibited; and violating a permit by operating during the hours of darkness.
The careless driving charges are misdemeanors rather than a more serious felony. In misdemeanor cases, the tickets issued by a law enforcement officer also serve as the charges that the defendant must answer in court. In a felony case, the district attorney’s office reviews the arresting officers information and files the charges.
The district attorney’s office decided not to file felony charges against Chamness.
The fatal collision occurred about one mile east of Catherine Store, between Carbondale and El Jebel, when a compact car collided with a rig that Chamness was pulling across Highway 82 shortly before dawn, according to the accident report. Chamness, 48, of Littleton, was hauling a modular trailer to Buttermilk to be used as an office during the Winter X Games.
Chamness pulled out of a private driveway on the north side of Highway 82, crossed the westbound (downvalley) lanes, then stopped while trying to turn left into the upvalley lanes.
The modular trailer blocked both westbound lanes of Highway 82 while Chamness stopped and waited for a break in the eastbound traffic. A westbound 2000 Kia Sophia with three occupants slammed into the trailer at about 6:40 a.m. The driver, Elizeo Trinidad, 21, and front-seat passenger Noemy Ramos, 23, were killed instantly. A passenger in the backseat, Julio Hernandez-Mendoza, was seriously injured.
The state trooper who investigated the wreck concluded the Kia was traveling at or close to the posted speed limit of 65 mph. He said the driver probably couldn’t see the trailer in the darkness in time to stop. The trailer didn’t have the required lights, the state patrol determined.
Chamness has been ordered to appear in Garfield County Court on Feb. 4, according to Leuthauser.
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