Serious charges could be filed in hit-and-run case

David Arellano Jr.

Cheyenne Dean

The 19-year-old Grand Junction man believed to have been behind the wheel of an SUV that struck and seriously injured a woman last weekend appeared before a judge Friday on misdemeanor charges, but prosecutors say more serious charges are likely to be filed against him soon.

David Arellano Jr., and Cheyenne Dean, 25, Clifton, had been suspected of being involved with the hit-and-run accident, which happened in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, in a parking lot located at 422 32 Road. The accident victim is a 22-year-old woman who prosecutors said Friday was “gravely injured.”

Law enforcement had wanted to talk with Arellano and Dean since the accident, and the two were described as “hiding out” all this week.

“We have every reason to believe (Arellano) knew” law enforcement was looking for him, Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle told the court Friday.

Tuttle said Arellano told investigators Friday morning that he was indeed driving the silver 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee involved in the accident, and that the court could expect at least a charge of leaving the scene of an accident sometime soon. If the accident victim dies — something Tuttle said was entirely possible, considering her “grim” condition — Arellano could face a charge of reckless vehicular homicide.

“He will be charged with some serious offenses,” Tuttle told Mesa County Court Judge Craig Henderson on Friday.

A defense attorney said that Arellano has great concern about his safety in jail, but offered the court no specifics about why he believes that to be the case.

Henderson, though, cited Arellano’s flight from law enforcement in issuing him a $3,000 cash-only bond, on possible charges of failure to appear and obstructing a peace officer.

Dean also appeared Friday on possible charges including violating parole and obstructing a peace officer, and received a $1,500 cash-only bond. Investigators are still determining what roles both Arellano and Dean played in the incident.


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