DA: Suspect was on cocaine in DUI that killed bicyclist

Tonie Rosales

Eunjey Cho

A Palisade woman used cocaine for two days in September before getting behind the wheel to drive to Delta for a court hearing relating to a prior DUI arrest, when she struck and killed a bicyclist on U.S. Highway 50, prosecutors alleged in a court filing.

Tonie Rosales, 29, was formally charged Thursday with possession of 4 grams or less of cocaine, as well as misdemeanor unlawful use of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, in connection with the Sept. 18, 2013, crash that killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho, a cyclist from Washington state who was riding across the country when he was struck on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 50.

Charging documents filed Thursday by the District Attorney’s Office allege that Rosales had used cocaine Sept. 17 and Sept. 18.

Rosales is free on bond and already charged with two separate counts of vehicular homicide; one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving. She’s also charged with misdemeanor DUI, a lane change violation and driving with no proof of insurance.

According to an arrest affidavit, Rosales told a trooper she was running late for a court appearance in Delta County when she said she “woke up” as her Chevy Blazer drifted off the right shoulder of U.S. Highway 50 and hit Cho’s bicycle.

She also told the trooper she’d taken Percocet the night before, the affidavit said.

Rosales refused roadside sobriety tests and was passed out in the back of a trooper’s patrol car by the time she was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital for a blood-draw chemical test.

She also told the trooper she was in pain from a recent surgery.

Rosales’ case is expected back in court March 18 for a preliminary hearing before District Judge Valerie Robison.

Delta court records reviewed by The Daily Sentinel showed Rosales, on the afternoon of the crash, was scheduled for a plea hearing stemming from her arrest on June 6, 2013, by the Delta County Sheriff’s Department on suspicion of DUI, failure to drive in a single lane and possession of a Schedule 4 controlled substance.

Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee said deputies found Diazepam, an anti-anxiety drug, inside a bottle in her vehicle but she didn’t have a prescription.


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