ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The man police say killed a 17-year-old boy in a violent crash on E. Colfax Avenue Monday made a court appearance Wednesday.
Ever Olivos-Gutierrez was released from the hospital and sent straight to a judge.
The arrest warrant says the suspect was driving drunk — three times the legal limit — when an Aurora police officer spotted him speeding 80 miles-an-hour on Colfax.
The officer was trying to catch up to pull him over, when he saw what he described as an explosive crash at Dayton Street.
Prosecutors say the suspect should never have been driving. He had not been living legally in the U.S. since 2004. He did not have a valid driver’s license. He had three prior DUI convictions along with a long criminal record.
Officers say Olivos-Gutierrez admitted he had been drinking when they pulled him out of his SUV.
“He has been arrested by Aurora under the first-degree murder which is ‘extreme indifference’ which means that his actions were of such a way that it caused, his extreme indifference caused the death of Juan,” says Assistant 18th Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.
The suspect’s relatives left the courtroom without comment Wednesday. The teen’s family members were told by the D.A. not to talk.
But his aunt shared their feelings Tuesday. “We feel anger we feel sadness we feel a loss of hope,” Alma Sanchez said.
“We need to stop this. We need to make sure that there’s laws in effect which would deter people from doing this. It’s a simple choice you drink you don’t drive,” she said.
The suspect is being held in jail without bond. He will be formally advised of the charges against him Monday. Those include:
Olivos-Gutierrez faces the following charges:
– Murder in the first degree extreme indifference
– Vehicular homicide (DUI)
– Vehicular homicide (reckless)
– Driving while habitual traffic offender (DUI)
– Driving while habitual traffic offender (reckless)
– Driving under the influence, third or subsequent offense
Officials: Olivos-Gutierrez ‘slipped through the cracks’
The suspect has been in and out of traffic and DUI courts for 14 years, either pleading guilty to the charges or fleeing to avoid them according to a search of court records.
He was never sentenced to a single day behind bars.
Juan Palomino’s friends are calling for justice. They and the entire community are stunned that the suspect may have slipped through the cracks of the justice system for so long.
“You can see the folly of our current system,” says Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler.
Court records FOX31 Denver found show Olivos-Gutierrez drove drunk before:
— Arrested in Parker for DUI in April 2000
— Ticketed in Aurora for several traffic offenses in 2002, there is some evidence of a second DUI
— Arrested in Parker for DUI in January 2007
— Ticketed in Arapahoe County in November 2010 as a habitual traffic offender
Even though he never had a valid driver’s license and for most of these cases was in the country illegally, the toughest penalty he received was a fine and probation.
Legal expert and defense attorney Dan Recht says there are laws that allow tougher penalties. “We don’t need new laws. We simply need to use the laws we have on the books.”
On the immigration issue, Recht says deportation is often based on politics, not circumstances. “In all too many instances people are deported that shouldn’t be and in all too many instances people that should be deported aren’t deported such as this fellow.”
There are some who disagree with Recht and think Colorado needs tougher laws.
As for deportation, it’s not clear if Immigration and Customs Enforcement was ever notified about this suspect. But we’re told he probably would not have been deported on traffic or DUI offenses anyway.