Woman accused of hit and run may face deportation
A 38-year-old woman who allegedly drove away after striking a bicyclist late Friday night in Clifton could be facing a felony charge of failing to remain on scene and deportation.
Julia Gonzalez Rojas, who lives in the 3000 block of Prickly Pear Drive in Grand Junction, was arrested the day after a 61-year-old man was seriously injured after being struck on U.S. Highway 6 on the railroad overpass east of 33 Road, an arrest affidavit said.
A Colorado State Patrol trooper wrote in the report that he heard the first call at about 10:45 p.m. Friday, and that another trooper was the first to arrive on scene at about 11:30 p.m. Troopers found a man with “massive amount of blood loss” and serious injuries to his head and right leg, the wreckage of a smashed bicycle and no sign of the driver.
The bicyclist, who was on pain medication when speaking with investigators, said a car had turned left in front of him on the road and “he dropped his bike in order to avoid a collision,” the affidavit said.
The next morning, troopers contacted Gonzalez Rojas, who wrote a statement in Spanish saying that the bicyclist turned and crossed in front of her suddenly, the report said. The woman wrote that the bicyclist turned too quickly for her to react except to take her foot off the gas pedal, the report said, citing the note, which was translated by an acquaintance of Gonzalez Rojas.
When asked why she left the scene of the wreck, Gonzalez Rojas said she was scared and didn’t know what to do. The trooper noted in the report that the right side of Gonzalez Rojas’ windshield was broken and appeared to have blood on it.
Gonzalez Rojas was arrested on the felony charge and two misdemeanors, and appeared Monday afternoon before Mesa County Judge Craig Henderson.
Public Defender Ruth Swift said during the hearing that Gonzalez Rojas called herself in to law enforcement Saturday.
Mesa County Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle asked for a personal-recognizance bond, but said that Gonzalez Rojas, who is listed in a jail report as a citizen of Mexico, has an Immigration and Customs Enforcement case pending as well, implying her residency status is in question by federal authorities.
Henderson ordered Gonzalez Rojas released on a personal-recognizance bond and set her next appearance for Aug. 18.