The driver of a plumbing truck involved in a crash that injured Cortez City Councilman Mike Lavey faces additional charges, according to the District Attorney’s office.
A citation against Lavey for turning left into oncoming traffic is also being considered, according to Cortez Police Lt. Andy Brock.
About 3:57 p.m. on Jan. 28, a plumbing truck driven by Logan Vigil, 32, was southbound on Colorado Highway 145, or State Street, when it collided with a Toyota pickup truck driven by Lavey, who was turning left onto westbound East Empire Street, according to Cortez Police Department records.
Vigil was arrested at the crash scene on suspicion of DUI, said Cortez Police Chief Roy Lane.
During a hearing Wednesday at Montezuma County Court, Matt Margeson, deputy DA in the 22nd Judicial District, reported that Vigil faces four charges – vehicular assault, DUI, DUI per se, and reckless driving. The case was bound over to 22nd Judicial District Court for a Feb. 19 arraignment.
Police officers at the scene suspected Vigil was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash, according to a police incident report. Vigil declined to take roadside sobriety tests, and a breath test conducted by an officer indicated that Vigil’s blood alcohol level exceeded the legal limit.
According to the incident report, Vigil stated he drank a beer four hours before the crash. An officer found a nearly empty 100 ml bottle of vodka in the vehicle Vigil was driving. Witnesses reported Vigil “was seen driving recklessly prior to the accident.” It was reported that he was traveling at a “high rate of speed, weaving, and almost causing collisions,” according to the incident report.
Police contacted a Colorado State Patrol crash investigator to analyze whether Vigil’s speed at the time of the crash could be determined. But it was determined that there was not enough evidence to make a conclusion about Vigil’s speed, said Lt. Andy Brock.
The stretch of road has a 40 mph speed limit.
Lavey was turning left onto East Empire Street in front of Vigil when the collision occurred. Vigil said he attempted to stop, but he hit the side of Lavey’s truck. Brock said a ticket has not been issued to Lavey, but a citation for turning left in front of oncoming traffic was being considered.
At the crash scene, the work truck, which bore a Sparks Plumbing and Heating emblem, had severe front-end damage, and Lavey’s heavily damaged pickup truck was pushed off the road into a field. Glass debris and a tire littered the intersection. Lavey was wearing a seatbelt, said Cortez Fire Protection District Chief Jay Balfour.
That evening, Lavey was flown from Southwest Memorial Hospital to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction. His wife, Gail, told The Journal he had surgery on a broken hand and broken ribs but was in “good spirits.”
“He will recover,” she said. “We will power through it, but it will take some time.”
Cortez Mayor Karen Sheek said Wednesday that Lavey recently informed her that he has been released from intensive care and is continuing rehabilitation in Grand Junction.
“He said he is making good progress,” she said.
Lavey’s signature “optimistic, positive attitude” guides the council and will aid his recovery, Sheek said. She added that at Lavey’s request the council is working on a way for him to participate in the upcoming Tuesday council meeting via Skype or by speaker phone.