Arrest made after woman struck by car

Victim is critically injured; driver had lost his license

A Grand Junction man arrested early Monday morning on allegations he critically injured a woman and killed her dog after slamming into them with his sport-utility vehicle was under the influence of at least one drug and driving with a revoked license, according to authorities and court records.

Joseph Leo Weixel, 21, 3091 Silver Crest Trail, was arrested on suspicion of two counts of vehicular assault and a host of other charges, but the case could turn into a vehicular homicide, District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told a judge during Weixel’s initial court appearance Monday.

Hautzinger said the State Patrol told him the victim, 50-year-old Darinda Brown, was showing no signs of brain activity as of Monday afternoon. Weixel, who appeared in court via closed-circuit television from the Mesa County Jail, shook his head after hearing Hautzinger’s announcement.

The accident, which happened around 7 p.m. Sunday in the 400 block Canyon Trail, occurred roughly a block from Weixel’s home.

The Colorado State Patrol said in a news release that Weixel was driving a 1993 GMC Suburban north on Canyon Trail around a curve when he struck Brown and her dog. Troopers said the GMC was partially on the sidewalk when the accident occurred.

Brown was thrown toward the left side of the GMC and struck by the SUV’s left rear tire. She sustained skull and other bone fractures, according to an arrest affidavit.

Brown’s dog was killed. Her granddaughter, who also was along for the walk, jumped out of the way and wasn’t injured. Trooper Mike Heath said he didn’t know the granddaughter’s age.

Although Weixel indicated he hadn’t had anything to drink, a trooper who interviewed him at the scene said he smelled a faint odor of alcohol on Weixel’s breath. Weixel agreed to perform a series of roadside maneuvers and showed signs of drug and alcohol impairment, according to the affidavit.

Another trooper who completed a drug recognition expert exam said he believed Weixel was under the influence of marijuana and a central nervous system depressant, according to the affidavit. Heath said he didn’t know what the depressant was.

Weixel was arrested on three separate occasions in Mesa County in 2009 on charges of careless driving, underage possession of alcohol and possession of drug paraphernalia, and he was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of harassment, court records indicate. His driver’s license was revoked two years ago for the alcohol offense, according to the affidavit.

In addition to the vehicular assault counts, Weixel was arrested Monday on suspicion of reckless driving, driving under the influence and driving under revocation. He also had a warrant out for his arrest for failing to appear in court.

Hautzinger asked County Judge Bruce Raaum to postpone setting bail for Weixel because he didn’t have a copy of a pretrial report, which provides a more detailed criminal history on defendants and helps attorneys and judges set bail.

Weixel is expected to return to court this afternoon, when a judge will set bail.


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