DA files two counts of vehicular homicide in fatal crash

Tonie Rosales

In charging documents filed Thursday, prosecutors allege a Palisade woman last week was driving under the influence of “alcohol, one or more drugs or a combination” of substances, which was the “proximate cause” of the death of a 25-year-old man on a cross-country cycling trip.

Tonie Rosales, 29, who appeared in court free on bond, was formally charged with two separate counts of vehicular homicide — one alleging DUI and another alleging reckless driving causing death — in connection with the Sept. 18 crash that killed Eunjey Cho, who was struck while biking on the shoulder of U.S. Highway 50.

She was also charged with misdemeanor DUI, a lane change violation and driving with no insurance.

Rosales, who arrived and departed from District Judge Valerie Robison’s courtroom flanked by several friends or family, wasn’t represented by an attorney Thursday but she told the judge she’d apply to the Colorado Public Defender’s Office. Rosales told Robison she understood the charges.

The charging documents did not specify the substance Rosales was allegedly under the influence of on Sept. 18. A prosecutor signaled they’re waiting on the results of a blood draw performed after the crash, which happened around milepost 46 on U.S. Highway 50.

Arrest records obtained last week by The Daily Sentinel said Rosales allegedly told police she was running late Sept. 18 for a court hearing in Delta, relating to a previous DUI arrest by the Delta County Sheriff’s Department, when she said she fell asleep at the wheel. Rosales allegedly said she woke up as she left the right-hand-lane, then hit Cho’s bicycle. He was pronounced dead at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Rosales allegedly admitted taking Percocet the night before the crash. She refused roadside sobriety tests and repeatedly fell asleep while in the custody of Colorado State Patrol troopers, the affidavit said.

A volunteer with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest in Spokane, Wash., Cho and a friend were riding from Seattle to Princeton, N.J.


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