Men arrested after truck rolls
Steamboat Springs — Two men illegally in the United States were arrested Friday morning after police connected them to an early morning rollover accident on River Road.
George Carlos Lopez Burciega, 24, and Jose Antonio Zapata, 21, were arrested on suspicion of failing to notify authorities of an accident. Zapata also is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and reckless driving.
The men were driving south on River Road about 1 a.m. Friday when their 1991 blue Chevy truck went off the right-hand side of the road, hit an embankment and flipped near the intersection of River and Mount Werner roads, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Rick Kaspar said.
“We think the two walked back to the Dream Island trailer park from there,” he said. The men allegedly did not contact any law enforcement agencies about the accident.
About 5:30 a.m. Friday, an Alpine taxi driver saw the truck lying upside down, partially blocking the road, and called the Steamboat Springs Police Department.
Police, Routt County sheriff’s deputies and troopers assisted in an investigation that temporarily closed River Road, though the state patrol took the lead in the investigation.
Upon reaching the site, authorities could not find the vehicle’s occupants, but blood, hair and tissue fibers inside the overturned truck suggested they might be injured.
“There were fresh footprints leading from the crash scene down to the river, ” Kaspar said. Routt County Search and Rescue was dispatched to help authorities search the swampy area near the river.
Meanwhile, documentation found in the truck led two officers to the Dream Island Mobile Home Community where they found Burciega and Zapata. Burciega and Zapata had minor injuries, including facial lacerations, bumps and bruises, that corresponded to the damage in the truck, Kaspar said.
Keys and stereo equipment found at the men’s residence also indicated they had been at the crash scene, he said.
Troopers discovered alcohol bottles in the truck, and Zapata and Burciega smelled of alcohol when officers found them, Kaspar said. A breath test later showed Zapata to have 0.124 blood-alcohol level, which is more than twice the legal limit for driving, he said.
Troopers brought Zapata and Burciega to the Routt County Jail, and Zapata, the suspected driver, was arrested on suspicion of careless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and failing to notify authorities of an accident. Burciega was arrested on suspicion of failing to notify, which is a misdemeanor.
Burciega and Zapata live in Steamboat Springs but are Mexican nationals illegally in the United States. Troopers contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, who then placed binders on Zapata and Burciega, preventing their release from prison.
Whether Zapata and Burciega will be tried for the charges or whether they’ll be deported is not clear.
“It really depends on the charges and what the customs agents wants to do,” Steamboat Springs Police Sgt. Rich Brown said.
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