GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado - Alcohol played a role in a triple fatal accident on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon during the early morning hours of April 14, the Colorado State Patrol has confirmed.
According to a Garfield County Coroner's toxicology report, the driver of the 2006 Audi that slammed head-on into a King Soopers semi-truck, Brianda Zavala, 18, of Glenwood Springs, had nearly twice the legal limit of alcohol in her system at the time of the accident.
Zavala and two backseat passengers in her car, Jennifer Nevarez, 16, of Carbondale, and Albino Ortiz-Monge, 24, of Gypsum, were pronounced dead at the scene following the 5:30 a.m. accident.
State Patrol Trooper Bonnie Collins said Zavala was driving eastbound in the designated westbound lane of traffic in a two-way traffic construction zone 13 miles east of Glenwood Springs, when they collided with the semi.
According to Ray Alexander, a Garfield County deputy coroner, "the driver was close to twice the legal limit" of 0.08 percent blood alcohol level, which is considered too drunk to drive.
The 16-year-old victim, Nevarez, also had a blood alcohol level near the legal limit, according to the findings of the toxicology report. Ortiz-Monge had alcohol in his system as well, but not above the legal limit for driving, Alexander said.
The driver of the semi truck, Peter Zhuchok, 54, of Aurora, was not injured in the accident.
Collins said the accident remains under investigation, but that driving under the influence is considered the cause of the accident.