Family of Breckenridge hit-and-run unhappy with low bond for Blue River suspect
A $15,000 cash unity bond was set on Friday, Sept. 11 for Steven James Gravatt, a 55-year-old Blue River man accused of killing Christina Martinez Hernandez in a fatal hit-and-run accident in August.
Gravatt was booked into the Summit County Jail on Thursday, facing charges of failure to remain at the scene of an accident, a class-three felony, arson, a class-four felony, and tampering with evidence, a class-six felony. Deputy district attorney Rusty Prindle did not push for a DUI charge at the time.
“There is nothing in the affidavit to indicate that Mr. Gravatt was under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” Prindle said. “This is a serious case. A young lady lost her life in the incident.”
If convicted of a class-three felony, Gravatt would face up to 12 years in the Department of Corrections; under extenuating circumstances, that time could double to a maximum of 24 years. Prindle suggested a $50,000 bond in light of Gravatt’s attempt to destroy the evidence.
Public defense attorney Reed Owens, representing Gravatt on Friday, suggested a lighter bond, adding that Gravatt’s ties to the community would indicate a low flight-risk. Owens said that with a house in Blue River, and having lived in Summit County for seven years, he did not think Gravatt would leave.
“The biggest positive we have going here is yesterday, Mr. Gravatt turned himself in and came to the district attorney’s office,” Owens said. “He does want to resolve this case.”
As Gravatt would be able to post a $1,000 bond, Owens suggested an upper limit of $10,000 to $15,000.
A fortunate find
Gravatt was arrested just the day before, after Breckenridge police received a tip that Gravatt’s blue, burnt-out Volkswagen Tiguan was spotted near downtown Denver. Gravatt was identified as the owner of the vehicle through a search of the Department of Motor Vehicles, after the vehicle’s VIN number and license plate number were spotted on camera footage.
Police were notified of the hit and run late on the night of Aug. 31, after a passerby spotted Martinez laying about 20 feet from the curb near the 600 block of Airport Road, near the cross walk at Rankin Avenue. After police and Red, White & Blue firefighters attempted resuscitation efforts for an extended period of time. She was pronounced dead at 11:30 p.m.
Breckenridge assistant police chief Dennis McLaughlin said that Gravatt turned himself in yesterday during an interview with the police.
“We worked day and night and we weren’t gonna let up,” McLaughlin said. “We were planning on requesting a warrant after further interview, but he turned himself in,”
He added that police would continue with the investigation next week.
Ricardo Gutierrez, Martinez’s uncle, came forward to speak before the court.
“Justice needs to be done,” Gutierrez said. “Christina was a lovely young lady. She had lots of friends.”
He thanked the judge and officers for their work before sitting down in the gallery. After the proceedings, he indicated that he would have liked to see a stricter bond.
“I don’t think 15 is fair. I think he should be in there without bond until proven guilty,” Gutierrez added.
Gravatt will next appear in court on Sept. 15, 9 a.m.
Martinez’s body is already at the airport, and will be with her parents in Posa Rica, Mexico tomorrow, according to Gutierrez.
“She will be missed in our hearts and everywhere,” Gutierrez said. “Everybody’s waiting there for her to come in.”
He thanked the community, Valdoro Mountain Lodge and the Blue Stag Saloon for all of the support following the incident.
“There are a lot of people I don’t even know,” Gutierrez said. “Everyone’s been helping out.”
He added that the remaining donation funds will be used to realize a dream of Martinez’s, to build her parents a nice, new home with a stable roof and doors in place of curtains.
“One of her goals coming up here, was not just to live with her brother, but to help out her mom and dad,” Gutierrez said. “At least they will have a nice roof, a safe roof over their heads.”
Like many of Martinez’s friends and family, Gutierrez remembered her as a happy person, constantly smiling, and eager to spend time with others.
“Every time we got together, she was the first one through the door,” Gutierrez said.
Now that a suspect has been arrested, he added, “I actually feel a relief.”
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