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August 20, 2014
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Driver in fatal Edwards crash charged with vehicular homicide

EAGLE — A Pueblo man was drunk and driving 140 mph on a narrow Edwards road when he crashed, killing one man and injuring two others, prosecutors say.

Prosecutors waited until Monday to charge Emmanuel Villeda, 25, so he could recover from his own injuries in the June 9 crash near the wastewater treatment plant on the western edge of Edwards. Villeda is charged with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.

According to police reports, Villeda and two friends allegedly spent the hours prior to the crash drinking beers and shots at Fiesta Jalisco in Avon while waiting for another friend to get off work there. They left the restaurant just before midnight, with Villeda at the wheel, police said.

Investigators say Villeda was driving an Audi at approximately 140 miles per hour along Red Canyon Estates Road when the car began skidding. The car left the roadway and vaulted across Hillcrest Drive. The car flipped one and one half times before coming to rest on its roof.

The four men were trapped in the car all night.

MAN FINDS WRECKAGE IN MORNING

A man driving from work the next morning discovered the wreckage at 8 a.m., when he noticed the debris. He followed the debris trail, and when he found the car with the four men still inside, he dialed 911.

Eagle County Paramedics, Eagle County sheriff’s deputies, Avon police and Colorado State Patrol troopers all rushed to the scene.

Villeda, who was partially free from the wreckage, was first to receive medical attention while rescue personnel worked to free the other men still trapped inside. He was later treated at Denver Health for a severe head injury. The front passenger and left rear passenger were flown to Denver Health, the former with a spinal cord injury and the latter with severe spleen injuries and a broken skull.

Police said the right rear passenger, 22-year-old Rafael Torres-Ortiz, was dead when emergency personnel arrived. Eagle County Coroner Kara Bettis said he died from multiple blunt force injuries. Investigators said the front seat passengers had been wearing seat belts, while the rear passengers were not.

‘ACCIDENT WAS TOTALLY AVOIDABLE’

“Our sympathies go out to the family of Rafael Ortiz, who lost his life because of the thoughtless and reckless behavior of his friend,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown. “This horrible accident was totally avoidable, but now all four gentlemen’s lives are unalterably damaged.”

Villeda was advised Monday of the charges before Eagle County Court Judge Katharine Sullivan. He was booked into the Eagle County jail and is free after posting $5,000 bond. He’s back in court at 9 a.m. Aug. 26.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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The VailDaily Updated Aug 20, 2014 09:34PM Published Aug 20, 2014 06:39PM Copyright 2014 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.