Alden P. House, accused of causing a fatal crash that killed a passenger Monday, faces felony charges of DUI vehicular homicide and assault, according to the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Cortez.
House, of Towaoc, is in custody in Montezuma County Detention Center on a $500,000 bond.
According to Colorado State Patrol officer Josh Lewis and an arrest affidavit, House was driving northbound in a blue Hyundai Sonata at mile marker 32 when he attempted to make a left turn, entered the southbound land and collided with a southbound red 2009 Ford F150 pickup.
House’s passenger in the Hyundai, Robin Frost, 32, died at the scene, Lewis said.
Frost was wearing a seat belt, and House was not, according to the crash report. Both were both ejected from the Hyundai, and House was taken to Southwest Memorial Hospital.
Alcohol consumption by House was considered a factor in the crash, Lewis said.
The driver and passengers of the Ford pickup were treated for injuries at the scene, according to the affidavit, but were not taken to the hospital.
The driver of the Ford pickup initially did not report a serious injury, said assistant DA Will Furse, but sought medical attention the next day, leading to the charge of vehicular assault.
Passengers in the pickup included two children, ages 5 and 2. They had been secured in car seats and did not appear to have serious injuries, Lewis said.
According to the affidavit, a state trooper reported open containers of alcohol were in the Hyundai. No proof of insurance was found, and it was later confirmed that House does not possess a valid driver’s license.
When visited at the hospital, the trooper reported a “strong odor” of alcohol coming from House. House told the trooper he was attempting to turn left into the Eagle Claw liquor store, according to the affidavit. A search warrant was obtained to seize three vials of blood from House, and results of a blood alcohol test are pending, Furse said.
A protection order prohibits House from purchasing or consuming alcoholic beverages or controlled substances, according to the affidavit.
The State Patrol originally suspected House of charges including DUI vehicular homicide, DUI, violation of restraining order, careless driving causing injury, driving without a driver’s license, operating an uninsured motor vehicle and drinking from/possessing an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle.
Formal charges are expected to be filed at House’s next court hearing, 8:30 a.m. Oct. 7.