Vehicular homicide case against Rifle man continued

Staff report
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Cody Christopher

A felony drunken driving case against a Rifle man stemming from a Dec. 29 double fatality on the private Puma Paw Ranch Road north of Rifle has been continued until next month.

Cody Christopher, 40, was in Garfield District Court Wednesday for further advisement of charges including felony vehicular homicide, child abuse and DUI. The case was continued at the request of his private attorney, Lawson Wills, until Feb. 22.

Christopher remains free on $50,000 bond. He is accused of being drunk at the time the 2003 Ford sport utility vehicle he was driving shortly after midnight on Dec. 29 went over an embankment and rolled, killing Matthew Smith, 36, of Rifle, and Trent Johnson, 41, of Glenwood Springs.

Johnson’s 10-year-old son, Rylan, was also seriously injured in the wreck. Christopher was also taken to Grand River Hospital in Rifle after the crash and treated for minor injuries.

Johnson and Smith were both ejected from the vehicle, and were pronounced dead at the scene.

The group was reportedly headed out on a hunting trip when the crash occurred on the private ranch road, which is an extension of Garfield County Road 219 northwest of Rifle Gap Reservoir near the Rifle Correctional Facility.

None of the occupants in the SUV were wearing seat belts, according to the Colorado State Patrol. Investigators said there was evidence of alcohol involved at the crash scene, and that Christopher allegedly admitted to consuming beer prior to the crash.


See more