Suspect in fatal Grand Junction DUI had .47 blood-alcohol level
Grand Junction Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” The suspected driver in a crash that killed a Whitewater woman had consumed more than five times Colorado’s legal limit for alcohol while behind the wheel, according to court records.
Trae M. Frigetto, 21, of Grand Junction, registered a blood-alcohol content of .470 in tests just after the Feb. 1 accident in downtown Grand Junction that killed 54-year-old Michelle Lefever.
Court records examined on Tuesday cite St. Mary’s Hospital laboratory reports for Frigetto’s BAC ” a potentially deadly level of intoxication.
“For an individual who doesn’t regularly consume alcohol, a level of .4 may be fatal,” said Deputy Mesa County Coroner Dr. Robert Kurtzman. “But all bets are off if someone is a regular user of alcohol.”
Colorado’s legal threshold for driving under the influence is .08 percent.
The Grand Junction Police Department has yet to file charges in the case.
“It’s still under investigation, and there’s no time table,” said Grand Junction officer Chip McIntyre.
Frigetto is being held at the Mesa County Jail on misdemeanor warrants.
According to the records viewed Tuesday, Frigetto told an investigator he was drinking “heavily” the night of Jan. 31 through most of the next day. He admitted going to a liquor store twice for purchases.
Frigetto said he had taken one oxycodone pill, a prescription he said had been written for a wrist injury.
Frigetto, however, denied driving the white Ford van that slammed into Lefever’s Nissan pickup. He instead said another person, whom he couldn’t identify, was driving.
“During the interview with Frigetto he did admit to having an airbag ‘nail’ him in the chest but said it was the passenger side airbag,” the records state. “The investigation revealed only one airbag had deployed and it was the driver’s side, not the passenger side.”
The records said “additional witness statements” placed Frigetto as the driver ” his driver’s license was revoked.
Frigetto, who turned 21 in May 2007, was arrested on 10 charges related to drugs and being a minor in possession of alcohol, according to local and state arrest records.
Most of the cases involved underage consumption of alcohol.
Witnesses at the scene of the crash told officers that Lefever’s Nissan was stopped at a red light on Ute Avenue at the intersection with 12th Street.
A white Ford van approached from behind at speeds estimated between 35 to 50 mph, slamming into the back of Lefever’s Nissan. The impact launched the Nissan forward one block ” coming to a rest at the intersection of Ute Avenue at 11th Street.
Tony Curtis, 39, a passenger in the white van who identified Frigetto as the driver, told officers he was telling Frigetto to slow down as they approached the red light.
“Curtis said Frigetto ignored him and continued on, speeding up until they hit the back of the truck,” the records state.
Frigetto jumped out of the van and ran south from the crash, Curtis said. Frigetto was arrested hiding in a nearby warehouse.
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