Eagle man, 19, dead in crash
Paul Jimenez-Ponce, who worked at Eagle County Regional Airport, was thrown through the sun roof when the truck tumbled off the bridge around 11 p.m., Monday. He was killed when the vehicle landed on top of him and rolled over, Cpl. Dennis Gibbons said.
Jimenez-Ponce’s aunt, Nidia Ponce, said her nephew was a hard-worker who was studying to be a real estate broker.
“He didn’t go out too much, he concentrated on his job and his studies,” Ponce said. “He was very dedicated to his work and his family. He had started to move ahead in life.”
Jimenez-Ponce came to the valley from Chihuahua, Mexico, nine years ago with his parents and two sisters. He graduated from Eagle Valley High School last year.
After a memorial service and viewing Monday in Denver, Jimenez-Ponce’s body will be taken to Mexico for burial.
“He was a great son and brother,” said his mother, Hilda. “We want to thank Paul’s friends and our family for their support.”
The truck was headed north on Highway 6 toward the interchange at high speed when the driver lost control, Gibbons said.
“The evidence indicates the driver had been going about 88 mph,” Gibbons said.
The speed limit on the overpass is 35 mph, Gibbons said.
The truck flipped over, then skidded along and over the guard rail, and plummeted onto the interstate, Gibbons said.
Jimenez-Ponce was pronounced dead on the roadway, he said.
“The driver and another passenger ran from the scene,” Gibbons said.
Of the five other people riding in the pickup, a 17-year-old Eagle boy was seriously injured. He suffered a skull facture and a concussion, but his injuries are not life threatening, Gibbons said.
The driver, Eric Pompa-Estrada, 19, of Gypsum, was later arrested at a home in Gypsum, Gibbons said.
Pompa-Estrada, who also spells his first name “Erick,” was taken to the Eagle County jail and is now under investigation for vehicular assault and vehicular homicide, Gibbons said.
Vail Daily reporter Veronica Whitney contributed to this report.
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