A Cortez woman died Tuesday evening on Colorado Highway 145, after falling from the roof of a moving vehicle, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
The deceased victim was identified as Amy A. Perez, 33, according to Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers.
The driver of the Hyundai Sonata, Jose Alfonso Jauregui, 27, faces charges of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both, and violation of restrictions on a temporary permit, according to a Colorado State Patrol arrest affidavit.
The vehicular homicide charge while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs was the “Proximate Cause of a Death to Another Person,” according to the charges.
Jauregui of Cortez was arrested and is in custody at the Montezuma County jail on a $500,000 bond issued Thursday by county Judge JenniLynn Lawrence. He recently moved to the United States and required a Spanish translator during police interviews and court hearings.
Lawrence ordered Jauregui to turn over his passport, work visas and travel documents to the court or public defender John Moran.
Deputy District Attorney Sheena Goldsborough with the 22nd Judicial District said Jauregui had been in the U.S. for two to three months.
“There are substantial concerns of a flight risk,” Goldsborough said.
The vehicle was impounded.
Evidence indicated that Perez was seated on the roof on the passenger side when she was ejected and landed in front of the vehicle, according to the State Patrol affidavit.
Dust had been rubbed off the roof near the sunroof opening, “indicating that Amy had been seated on the roof,” the report says.
The crash occurred about 9 p.m. Tuesday, but the location and direction of travel have not been determined.
A Spanish translator helped interview Jauregui.
Jauregui said Perez fell forward from the sunroof when he applied the brakes. He then drove her to Southwest Memorial Hospital, according to the affidavit. Perez was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
However, additional evidence came to light that claims Jauregui first drove to Mancos to seek advice from his brother before continuing to the hospital with Perez, according to Goldsborough and a report provided by Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gary Cutler.
In the arrest affidavit, Jauregui is quoted as saying he was extremely intoxicated and drove very fast to get Perez to the hospital. He said several times that he had consumed more than 12 beers.
“Jauregui has a strong odor of alcohol on his person, he had bloodshot watery eyes. He had been crying as well. He had trouble maintaining his balance when he stood,” according to the arrest affidavit.
The crash occurred about 9 p.m. on Colorado 145 between Cortez and Rico, but Jauregui could not identify the location where the incident occurred, according to the report.
His story of what happened has changed since the incident, according to court documents and a bond hearing Thursday.
He initially told the State Patrol that Perez was driving and attempted to switch seats with him when she fell out of the sunroof. He later recanted that statement, and said he was the driver when the incident occurred.
Jauregui said he had told a different story earlier because he was scared and an “idiot,” according to the affidavit.
Emotional bond hearingJudge Lawrence increased Jauregui’s bond from $10,000 to $500,000 cash after hearing evidence suggesting that Jauregui stopped at his brother’s house with Perez before going to the hospital.
Lawrence said bond was set at the lower amount Sept. 30 in part because Jauregui purportedly drove straight to the hospital.
Jauregui “did not immediately seek medical care and went elsewhere,” Lawrence said.
Perez has four daughters and worked at Cricket Wireless phone company in Cortez, according to family members.
During the bond hearing, several relatives of the victim spoke up for a larger bond.
“I’m asking that justice be served for my daughter and for her daughters who have to live without their mom,” said Perez’s mother, Eva Martinez.
“My daughters’ lives are forever changed. I ask your honor to raise the bond so he does not have the opportunity to go back to Mexico,” said Darryl Perez.
Jauregui’s next court appearance is Oct. 15 for filing of charges.