Driver in rollover that killed boy charged with child abuse
Ryan Summerlin July 7, 2011
The driver responsible for a rollover wreck that killed a 4-year-old boy and seriously injured four other children and their mother are facing a total of 12 charges for child abuse, careless driving resulting in injury and death and driving without a driver’s license.
A preliminary hearing is set for Tuesday for 22-year-old Nathaniel Comeger of California, who lost control of a small 1992 Geo Prizm on 70 in early June and rolled the car carrying five unrestrained children under the age of 8.
Authorities say they do not suspect alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, but no one in the car was wearing a seat belt, and the small children were not in car seats.
The children’s mother, Cyisha Cook, 22, who was in the front seat of the car at the time of the wreck, also faces one count of child abuse causing death and four counts of child abuse causing serious injury.
The accident occurred just west of the Eisenhower Tunnel June 7 when Comeger lost control of the car and crashed into a depressed storm drain, rolling the vehicle two-and-a-half times, according to a statement issued by Colorado State Patrol at the time.
All five of the children riding in the back seat were thrown from the vehicle. Four-year-old CJ Pettus died at the scene. Darion Jackson, 8, Marrion Johnson, 6, Cyaire Pettus, 3, and 7-month-old Keire Comeger were found outside the vehicle and were transported to The Children’s Hospital in Aurora with serious bodily injuries.
No information regarding the children’s conditions now has been released, but there are no reports to suggest any of them died as a result of their injuries.
Cook, the mother, who was unbuckled in the passenger’s seat, was taken to St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center where she underwent emergency surgery following the accident. Comeger was partially ejected from the car and also suffered serious injuries.
He was charged with one count of child abuse causing death, four counts of child abuse causing serious injury, one count of careless driving causing death and five counts of careless driving causing serious injury as well as one count of driving without a license. He is being held on a $25,000 bond, according to information from the Summit County Combined Courts.
If convicted, Comeger could face 16-48 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines for the charge of child abuse resulting in death, a Class 2 felony. For each of the four counts of child abuse resulting in serious injury he could be sentenced to nine to 32 years in jail and be fined up to $750,000.
The six careless driving charges each carries a charge of up to one year in county jail and $1,000 in fines.
All six of the passengers and the driver are residents of Fontana, Calif.