Ambulance called to Adams City H.S. for drunk students same day 4 others involved in fatal crash

Crash victim ID'd as Gary Melillo, a DPS employee

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - School officials say there doesn't appear to be a link between an alcohol-related fatal crash involving four Adams City High School students and an incident involving two apparently intoxicated students earlier in the day at the school.

7NEWS confirmed that an ambulance was called to ACHS Friday morning to transport two students, who appeared to be drunk, to the hospital.

Later that day, four students were involved in a crash on Highway 2 near Locust Street.

Investigators say speed and alcohol appear to have been factors in that crash, which left a 52-year-old motorcyclist dead.

"The motorcycle rider was struck virtually head-on by the side of the vehicle and he was thrown back a good distance from where the initial impact occurred," said Commerce City Police Chief Troy Smith.

On Monday, Denver Public Schools identified the deceased motorcyclist as Gary Melillo, the Facility Manager at Martin Luther King, Jr, Early College, a school serving grades 6-12.

"It is with sadness that we share the passing of one of our beloved staff members, Gary Melillo, this past Friday," Principal Kimberly Grayson said in a letter to parents and students.  "All of us at Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College were deeply saddened by the news of this passing. His presence will be sorely missed. He was liked and respected by all those who knew him. Gary has worked tirelessly for Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College for many years. His talent for his craft was in such demand that he was charged with the duty of overseeing numerous school campuses in DPS. He transformed our school into a place our students, staff and community could be proud to show others and invite them into our home."

Meanwhile, Tony Smith, executive director of school turnaround at Adams City High School, told 7NEWS that staff members noticed that two students appeared to be under the influence of alcohol during first period Friday morning.

"They were taken by ambulance to the hospital," he said. "We wanted to make sure they were safe."

Tony Smith said the 16-year-old female driver involved in the fatal crash didn't go to school Friday.

Authorities are still trying to determine where she and three friends may have been drinking.

They say the teens were southbound on Highway 2 in a Dodge Neon when the driver went off the right side of the road, over-corrected, then started fishtailing into the oncoming lane, striking and killing the motorcyclist.

The driver of the Neon, who police say was operating the vehicle with a learner's permit, was taken to Denver Health Medical Center and was last listed in serious condition.

Two 16-year-old male passengers were taken to Children's Hospital with serious, but not-life threatening injuries.

An 18-year-old female passenger was treated and released.

"It's tragic, not only for the families of the four students," Tony Smith said, "but for the family of the motorcyclist."

Tony Smith said that with the severity of the accident, there could have been more loss of life.

The victim was well known in the school community and many people are grieving his loss, Tony Smith said.

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