Alcohol involved in fatal wreck
SUMMIT COUNTY – The driver who caused the three-fatality auto accident Monday on Highway 9 near Frisco had a blood-alcohol content nearly three times the legal limit.
The toxicology investigation stated that Miguel Angel Ramirez Cruz, who died in the horrific accident, had a blood-alcohol content of .287, Colorado State Patrol Capt. Ron Prater said Thursday.
Ramirez Cruz, who was 21 years old, died at the scene along with his nephew Victor Hugo Caballero Ramirez, 16. The third person in the crushed Dihatsu, Sergio Gutierrez Basillo, 31, died shortly after the accident.
A person who has a blood-alcohol level of .10 is considered to be under the influence of alcohol, and is prohibited from driving. Police also give drunken driver tickets for driving with a blood-alcohol level of .05 for “driving while ability impaired.”
To reach a .287 blood alcohol level, an average weight person would have to drink 13-14 drinks. One drink is considered a 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, Prater said.
Earlier reports from the Colorado State Patrol were inaccurate. An initial report said alcohol was not suspected, but also stated that the case was under investigation and alcohol levels were unknown.
Alcohol was suspected from the beginning of the investigation into the cause of the crash, Prater said.
“There was a faint odor of alcohol around the body of the driver of the Dihatsu,” Prater said. “This is very serious. We have three people who aren’t walking among us because of this accident.”
Ramirez Cruz was wearing an automatic, passive restraint seat belt without wearing the lap belt, Prater said. Not wearing the full seat belt can make the effects of the impact in an auto accident worse, he said.
The other two passengers in the Dihatsu were not wearing seat belts.
Gutierrez Basillo is survived by a wife and three children who live in Mexico, said co-workers at the Blue Spruce Inn restaurant in Frisco.
Ramirez Cruz and Caballero Ramirez are survived by an aunt and her husband with whom they lived in Breckenridge, and dozens of family members in Oaxaca, Mexico, according to the Summit County Family and Intercultural Resource Center.
Two teenage girls who live in Summit County said they happened to be driving south on Highway 9 behind the red Dihatsu driven by Ramirez Cruz Monday night.
They said the Dihatsu was weaving, and was prone to an accident. One of the girl’s parents said her daughter was very disturbed after viewing the head-on collision just after 5:30 p.m. on Highway 9.
When 18-year-old Lauren Gentile, the only surviving person in the accident, heard she was the victim of a drunken driving accident after all, she cried, said her mother Susan Gentile.
Ramirez Cruz hit Gentile’s Ford Explorer after crossing the double-yellow lines into her lane of oncoming northbound traffic.
“Lauren has been so strong through all of this, but when she heard that (alcohol was involved), she was very upset,” Susan Gentile said. “She’s had a piece of her life stolen from her.”
Lauren is still at home with a broken heel and facial wounds. Doctors are recommending surgery on her foot once the swelling goes down, her mother said.
The Summit High School senior was driving her Ford Explorer after dance practice at the school Monday evening. She will miss her solo performance this weekend, and will likely miss a spring break vacation to Mexico next week.
Lauren was wearing her seat belt, said a state patrol report.
Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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