Passenger: Monument DUI suspect speeding nearly 80 mph

Timothy Tyler

One occupant of a Honda Civic that crashed in the pre-dawn hours of Tuesday in Colorado National Monument estimated they were speeding at nearly 80 mph shortly before careening down an embankment near the monument’s east entrance, according to an arrest affidavit.

The stretch of road has a posted speed limit of 25 mph, while Colorado State Patrol troopers observed tire skid marks in the road, the affidavit notes.

Moreover, a trooper investigating the accident, which seriously injured two back-seat passengers, found an open 12-pack of beer on the front passenger floorboard of the Honda, which was driven by 21-year-old Timothy Tyler of Grand Junction, the affidavit said.

“Additionally, there was the strong smell of alcohol in and around the vehicle,” a trooper wrote in the affidavit.

In a first court appearance Wednesday, Tyler was ordered held at the Mesa County Jail on $10,000 bond on suspicion of three counts of vehicular assault while driving under the influence, three counts of careless driving while DUI causing injury, driving with a suspended license, DUI and displaying fictitious plates.

“How am I going to pay for a $10,000 bond?” Tyler asked County Judge Gretchen Larson, shortly after the judge set bond.

When the judge suggested Tyler approach a bondsman, Tyler replied, “What’s the bondman’s phone number?”

“I don’t have that,” Larson said.

Tyler in March had been sentenced by Larson to an 18-month deferred judgment and was serving probation after pleading guilty to third-degree assault. A public defender who spoke on Tyler’s behalf said Tyler had been subject to random drug and alcohol testing through the Mesa County Criminal Justice Services Department as a condition of probation.

Tyler also has a 2008 conviction for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Kim Williams, a spokeswoman for St. Mary’s Hospital, said two occupants of Tyler’s Honda on Tuesday morning, 20-year-old Chantell Bailey and 25-year-old Aaron Carpenter, were listed in good condition.

Tyler’s arrest affidavit said Bailey suffered 15 broken bones, including vertebrae damage and a partially collapsed lung.

Carpenter suffered a neck fracture and was treated for a brain hemorrhage, the affidavit said.

A woman who was riding in the front seat, Skylee Sparks, 20, was treated for minor injuries.

The affidavit said Sparks identified Tyler as the driver of the Honda, which sped off the roadway just past Serpents Trail trail head, around 3 a.m. Tuesday.

Interviewed at St. Mary’s, Tyler nodded yes when asked by a trooper if he had been driving, before he allegedly failed roadside sobriety tests at the hospital, the affidavit said.

Doctors extracted a blood sample for the purposes of a chemical test. The results weren’t known as of Wednesday.

Prosecutors are expected to file formal charges in the case on June 7.


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