Legal problems mount for DUI-death suspect

Tonie Rosales

A Palisade woman facing a vehicular homicide charge in the 2013 death of bicyclist will soon be charged with her third new felony case in the span of one month, a Mesa County prosecutor said Tuesday.

District Judge Valerie Robison denied a request for lowered or modified bond for 30-year-old Tonie Rosales, who’s been jailed in Mesa County on a $20,000 cash-only bond since her most recent arrest March 13. That’s when Rosales allegedly showed up at Mesa County’s Day Reporting Center, 636 South Ave., with cocaine and drug paraphernalia in her purse.

The arrest came one day after Rosales posted bond following her arrest in Palisade on suspicion of driving with a revoked license, in violation of bail-bond conditions.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Mark Hand told the judge Tuesday that the Palisade Police Department is investigating yet more allegations of Rosales driving in violation of court orders and her driving status. Dates of the alleged new crimes weren’t specified, but charges are expected to be filed “quickly,” Hand said told Robison.

Public Defender Matt Mulch had asked Robison to approve a modified bond allowing Rosales to get out of jail, potentially allowing her to enroll in a Mesa County drug-treatment program. Rosales was in a similar program in Montrose prior to her most recent rash of troubles, Mulch said.

Hand, however, questioned Rosales’ interest in treatment and called her a “danger to the community” if afforded a chance anytime soon to get back behind the wheel.

In a recorded phone conversation at the Mesa County Jail, Rosales is heard speaking with her boyfriend about the prospect of drug treatment, the prosecutor told the judge. When her boyfriend suggests in the conversation she didn’t need treatment, Rosales replied, “Yeah, but that’s neither here nor there,” Hand said.

In paraphrasing Rosales’ words, Hand said Rosales suggests treatment should be pursued, “if it gets her out jail.”

“I think she’s going to tell the court whatever it wants to hear to get out of jail,” Hand said Tuesday.

Rosales’ license was revoked after the Sept. 18, 2013, crash that killed 25-year-old Eunjey Cho, a bicyclist who was riding on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 50 when he was struck by Rosales’ vehicle. She told an arresting Colorado State Patrol trooper she was running late for a plea hearing in Delta, which related to a June 2013 DUI arrest by the Delta County Sheriff’s Office.

Rosales is expected back in court next month.


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