Driver charged in Rifle pedestrian homicide told police he drank 2 beers before 7 a.m.
The 19-year-old suspected driver in a crash that killed a pedestrian in Rifle just before sunrise Wednesday told police he drank 2 beers before driving.
Rifle Police say Chayton Reynolds faces charges of vehicular homicide for allegedly driving drunk and hitting Robert Baumwoll, 50, around 7:20 a.m. Jan. 22 on U.S. Highway 6 east of Rifle.
Baumwoll was unresponsive and didn’t have a pulse when police arrived at the scene east of the Rifle Remote Control Park, according to a probable cause statement from a Rifle Police officer.
The first officers attempted CPR and chest compressions to revive Baumwoll, but he was later pronounced dead.
Officers noted that the car, a blue Honda Civic, had a dent in the hood and “a large hole in the windshield about the size of a human head,” according to the affidavit.
Reynolds was crying when officers interviewed him, but said he was driving to a friend’s house, heard a thump and turned around to see what he had hit. He said he did not see anything before the collision, and would not answer when the officer asked him if the person he hit had been in the road.
Reynolds told the officer that he had drunk “about two beers in the last two hours,” according to the affidavit.
Baumwoll died of blunt force injuries, according to Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire.
“It’s incredibly tragic for everyone involved,” public defender Elise Myer said in Reynold’s first court appearance in the case Thursday afternoon.
Reynolds was on probation for a juvenile misdemeanor that he pleaded guilty to in 2019.
“Certainly this case is very upsetting. Certainly it’s upsetting to Mr. Reynolds,” Myer said. “The arrest report indicates that he was incredibly distraught and emotional at the scene.”
In a first court appearance in the case Thursday afternoon, assistant District Attorney Tony Hershey said the case underlined the dangers of driving under the influence.
Hershey pointed out Reynolds’ admission to drinking two beers before 7 a.m. and other indications of drinking, including slurred speech.
“Drinking and driving can kill people,” Hershey said.
Hershey requested a bond of $25,000, but Judge Tom Ossola, who was filling in at the 9th District Court Thursday, set bond at $10,000.
Myer noted that her client was presumed innocent until proven guilty, and said there may be other factors that will come out in the case, such as road conditions.
Baumwoll had a Silt address, but the coroner believes he may have been staying with friends in Rifle.
Anyone with knowledge of Baumwoll’s whereabouts between Jan. 21 and Jam. 22 are asked to contact the Garfield County Coroner’s Office at 970-665-6335.
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