Alcohol suspected in fatal crash
Police were attempting to pull over a suspected drunken driver who was not using headlights Monday night when his vehicle crashed into another, killing a 20-year-old Grand Junction woman, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Rebekah Joy King was killed in the crash on F Road east of 29 1/2 Road after a pickup driven by Henry David Stoltman, 28, slammed into her vehicle.
King was en route to meet friends at a restaurant when the crash occurred, according to the Mesa County Coroner’s Office.
Just moments before the crash, a Colorado State Patrol trooper and a Mesa County sheriff’s deputy spotted Stoltman driving the 1986 Dodge pickup without its headlights turned on. Trooper Gary Schaff activated his overhead lights and was within about 300 feet of Stoltman’s vehicle when the crash occurred, according to Sgt. Scott Simons of the Colorado State Patrol.
The Sheriff’s Department deputy also had seen the pickup without headlights and started to initiate a traffic stop, but pulled back he when he saw a state trooper already was attempting to make a traffic stop, Simons said.
Just after 9:30 p.m., King was turning left from Placer Street onto F Road when her white 2005 Nissan Sentra was hit on the driver’s side.
“Apparently the female driver pulled out and didn’t see (Stoltman’s vehicle),” Simons said.
King died at the scene.
King was wearing a seat belt, but Stoltman was not, the State Patrol said.
According to an arrest affidavit, Stoltman told police he had drunk 4 1/2 beers about a half hour before the crash. Police noticed a bottle of vodka on the floor of the passenger’s side of Stoltman’s truck and reported that his eyes appeared glassy, the affidavit said.
Stoltman was advised Tuesday in court that he faces the most serious charge of vehicular homicide, a high-level felony, and was handed a $20,000 bond by a judge.
Stoltman, who appeared in court with his left arm in a sling, was advised he also faces charges of careless driving, driving without proof of insurance, a headlight violation, not wearing a seat belt and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger called the incident “a tragic and aggravated case.”
Stoltman’s criminal history consists of one misdemeanor charge of consuming alcohol as a minor, Hautzinger said.
Stoltman is slated for formal filing of charges Aug. 10.