AURORA, Colo. - An Aurora police officer witnessed a Ford Expedition speeding about 80 mph on Colfax Avenue just seconds before running a red light and slamming into a car, killing a 17-year-old driver, according to court records.
The crash, which happened just after midnight Monday, claimed the life of Juan Carlos Dominguez-Palomino, the teen driver of a Chevrolet Camaro.
A blood test taken at the hospital showed the Expedition driver, Ever Olivos-Gutierrez, had a blood-alcohol level of .289 -- more than three-and-a-half times the .08 threshold for driving under the influence violation, according to an arrest affidavit.
At the hospital, the 40-year-old Olivos-Gutierrez told a police investigator he'd been drinking at a bar, but he couldn't remember its name or location.
Investigators asked Olivos-Gutierrez how many drinks he'd had and if he'd taken any drugs with the liquor, but court officials redacted the suspect's answers to those questions in the affidavit made public Wednesday.
However, an officer overheard Olivos-Gutierrez tell paramedics that "he had been drinking" and telling hospital emergency room staff that he "Drink a lot" [sic], the affidavit stated. An officer also noticed the suspect had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, slurred speech and bloodshot, watery eyes.
Aurora Police Sgt. Brandon Samuels said he was writing a report while parked near the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and Yosemite Street at 12:16 a.m. Monday when he heard a vehicle accelerating as it traveled eastbound on Colfax.
Samuels said he saw a green Ford Expedition speeding 70-to-80 mph in the 30 mph zone, the affidavit said.
Samuels pulled onto Colfax in an effort to pursue the speeding SUV, but before he could turn on his lights and siren he witnessed an "extremely violent" collision between the Expedition and another vehicle at the intersection of East Colfax Avenue and North Dayton Street. He said debris was flying as smoke engulfed both vehicles.
Samuels reported the traffic light was red for eastbound Colfax traffic when the SUV struck the car.
Samuels found a blue Chevy Camaro had been severely damaged in the collision. "This vehicle was hit by the recklessly speeding Expedition, which also had major damage to it," the affidavit said.
Police found the teen victim, Dominguez-Palomino, wearing a seatbelt, slumped back in the driver's seat. He had no pulse. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Distraught witnesses told police the SUV was "going really fast" when it ran the red light and T-boned the Camero, which had been traveling south on Dayton and trying to turn east on Colfax, the affidavit said.
A woman who was standing at a bus stop was "very upset" and kept repeating to an officer, "I don't know why he was driving that fast." The woman had unsuccessfully tried to find the teen victim's pulse.
Sgt. Samuels said he found Olivos-Gutierrez still in the driver seat of the Expedition looking around.
"The vehicle was still running and it sounded as if the operator may be trying to flee in the vehicle," Samuels reported in the affidavit. He told other officers to remove Olivos-Gutierrez from the SUV and handcuff him.
Olivos-Gutierrez was transported to University of Colorado Hospital with a "broken and/or dislocated ankle," the affidavit said.
Olivos-Gutierrez signed a waiver saying he understood his right to remain silent and agreed to speak with an investigator at the hospital. Police provided a Spanish interpreter at his request.
The suspect admitted that a court had ruled he was a habitual traffic offender "after his second DUI," the affidavit stated. Olivos-Gutierrez also said he had attended DUI classes.
The investigator asked what kinds of things people talked about in DUI classes?
"The most serious thing [is] when someone dies. That and how one affects society and the family members," Olivos-Gutierrez replied.
The investigation said, "So they kind of talked about if you drink and drive, bad things could happen and the very worst thing is that someone could die."
"Yes," the suspect replied.
The Aurora Police Department said it has been advised by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that Olivos-Gutierrez is an undocumented immigrant. His last documented and lawful entry into the United States was on a visitor visa in July 2003. This visa expired in January 2004.
ICE released a statement Tuesday saying the agency had been informed of Olivos-Gutierrez's 2007 arrest for DUI in Douglas County.
"However, at the time ICE was notified of this arrest, Mr. Olivos-Gutierrez was not in local custody so that he could be eventually transferred to ICE. Based on this initial records review, Mr. Olivos-Gutierrez has had no other referrals to or involvement with ICE," the statement said.
Under ICE's Secure Communities program, implemented in Colorado in 2012, the FBI automatically sends the fingerprints of individuals who are arrested to the Department of Homeland Security so the agency can check names against its immigration databases.