Witness clouds driver’s story of desert wreck
Woman said to be racing another vehicle when crash killed cousin
A passenger in a Jeep driven by 20-year-old Alexis Perez said they were racing a pickup truck and leaving a party after it turned violent in the desert off 18 6/10 Road early Saturday, just before a crash that killed Perez’s cousin, according to an arrest affidavit.
Perez on Monday walked out of the Mesa County Jail after County Judge Craig Henderson set bond at $10,000, personal recognizance. She signed out of jail after being advised of charges including vehicular homicide while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, vehicular homicide while driving recklessly, DUI and reckless driving in connection with the death of 18-year-old Lydia Perez. She also could be charged with reckless driving, driving without a valid license, underage consumption of alcohol and possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.
Alexis Perez muttered a tearful “yes, sir” when asked Monday by the judge if she understood the terms and conditions of her bond, including random testing for drugs and alcohol by Mesa County Pretrial Services. Henderson ordered no driving without a valid license.
Henderson acknowledged a PR bond is rare for someone with vehicular homicide charges in Mesa County, but noted Perez has no criminal history and highlighted “tragic” circumstances around Saturday’s crash. Lydia Perez’s father had communicated to attorneys that “he prefers the defendant out of custody,” District Attorney Pete Hautzinger told the judge.
The Colorado State Patrol trooper who arrested Perez was dispatched to the crash at 12:22 a.m. and noted in an affidavit Perez failed roadside sobriety tests. She agreed to a blood-draw test to measure intoxication. Results may not be known for weeks.
Perez told a trooper she was following a red pickup from a party in the desert “just trying to get her friend and cousin home,” the affidavit said.
“Perez said that she was probably going too fast but not excessive,” the affidavit said. “Perez said that she went around a corner and she remembers losing control of the vehicle. Perez said that she remembers bracing herself, then she said, “it just went black after that.”
She said she remembered being helped out of the vehicle by a man she didn’t know, then seeing her cousin on the ground, breathing for a while but “snoring.”
“Perez said that the guy that helped her out of the vehicle said that Lydia had stopped breathing,” the affidavit said.
A trooper heard a slightly different story from Natasha Stacey, who was riding in Perez’s Jeep. Stacey said Perez was “racing a group of three males in a red truck, possibly a Dodge,” before the crash, according to the affidavit. She said she, Alexis and Lydia were drinking earlier in the evening and before heading out to a desert party, but left within 20 minutes after a fight involving others broke out.
Perez is expected back in court April 15 for the formal filing of charges.