16-year old student is charged with vehicular homicide, DUI in collision that killed motorcyclist

April crash killed Denver Public Schools employee

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. - Multiple counts of vehicular homicide have been filed against the 16-year-old driver of a car that struck and killed a motorcyclist on Highway 2 in Commerce City last April.

Investigators say the teen lost control of her car while she and three friends -- all Adams City High School students -- were traveling southbound on Highway 2 near Locust Street.

They say the girl was operating the car with a learner's permit, went off the right side of the road, over-corrected and started fishtailing into the oncoming lane, where the side of her car struck the motorcycle, sending the rider flying through the air.

"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," Commerce City Police Chief Troy Smith said at the time of the fatal collision.

The motorcycle rider, 52-year old Gary Melillo, died in the crash. The teen driver and two 16-year old passengers were injured in the crash, which knocked the Neon onto its roof. An 18-year old passenger was treated and released.

7NEWS is not identifying the 16-year-old driver because she had been charged as a juvenile.

After a two-and-a-half month investigation, prosecutors charged the teen driver with one count of vehicular homicide involving DUI, one count of vehicular homicide involving reckless driving, two counts of vehicular assault involving DUI and two counts of vehicular assault involving reckless driving.  They’ve also charged her with driving under the influence and being a minor driver with more than one passenger under age 21.

Investigators spent a great deal of time trying to learn where the teens, who were in the car, may have gotten their liquor.

A search warrant reveals that on the day of the crash, one of the teens in the car may have purchased beer at Monaco Plaza Liquor in Commerce City, and that they may have consumed it at a friend’s house.

When 7NEWS tried to talk to the liquor store operator, he told the TV crew to wait outside, then locked the door and shut off the lights.

7NEWS has asked the District Attorney's Office whether that part of the investigation will result in any charges.  A spokeswoman said she’ll check with prosecutors.

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