A Blue Lake woman involved in a domestic dispute Thursday morning allegedly rammed her husband’s minivan near Basalt High School, setting off a car chase in which speeds approached 110 mph on Highway 82 before police say she caused a multi-vehicle crash near the El Jebel City Market.
Ivania Yesenia Alvarez Lopez, 32, today is to be charged with felony menacing with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment with domestic violence, a misdemeanor. Her husband, Carlos Diaz, 35, was also arrested and is expected to be charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment, false imprisonment and speeding.
Diaz was driving a girl who attends Basalt High to school, said Sgt. Penny Paxton of the Basalt Police Department. The girl and her mother live with Lopez and Diaz.
Lopez, angry at her husband for driving the girl and thinking there was “something was going on” between the two, pursued them to Basalt High, Paxton said. Lopez also had the girl’s mother in the car with her. When Diaz saw the women behind him, he grew incensed and sped behind the school.
As he was turning onto Southside Drive, Lopez allegedly rammed her Honda minivan into his Honda minivan at high speed. Diaz wouldn’t let the girl out, leading to the false imprisonment count, and eventually drove onto Highway 82 and headed downvalley.
“I have witnesses that put Diaz’s speed at 110 mph,” Paxton said, with Lopez not far behind.
At the intersection of the highway and West Willits (the road with the roundabout near City Market), Diaz allegedly blew through a red light, as did Lopez. He made it through, but she clipped the front end of an Audi that was trying to turn onto 82, Paxton said.
Lopez’s vehicle then went across the intersection, sideswiped an eastbound BMW that had stopped for the light and hit head-on a Dodge Stratus behind the BMW. The Stratus was driven backward 76 feet into a Toyota Tundra that was in the adjacent eastbound lane.
“It was a mess,” said Cpl. Shauna Swale of the Colorado State Patrol.
The driver of the Stratus was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, and treated and released, she said.
“He got lucky,” Swale said of the driver.
Paxton said that’s an understatement. Given how fast Lopez was going and the number of vehicles involved, she said she was amazed no one was killed or more seriously hurt.
“There was debris everywhere,” Paxton said. “Given the amount of damage, it’s miraculous that no one was severely injured.”
Had her vehicle struck the Audi in its middle, the driver likely would have been killed, she said. Paxton put Lopez’s speed in the intersection at about 90 mph, and the BMW driver said Lopez’s van was on two wheels before it struck her car.
That Diaz did not stop to let the girl out “is alarming in and of itself,” Paxton said. But after running the red light, he saw the accident happen in his rear-view mirror, she said.
“He sees this horrific crash and does not stop at all,” she said. “He didn’t know how bad it was or the injuries.
“That’s his wife.”
Diaz drove back to Basalt, dropped the girl off at school and returned home “like nothing happened,” Paxton said.
Lopez and Diaz were arrested at their residence and held without bond in Pitkin County Jail.
The accident shut down both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane for almost two-and-a-half hours.