A Blue Lake woman who allegedly rammed her van into her husband’s vehicle Thursday morning, leading to a 110-mph car chase on Highway 82 that ended in a multi-car accident, made her first court appearance Friday.
Ivania Yesenia Alvarez Lopez, 32, wearing jail-issue clothing and hand- and leg cuffs, quietly wept at times before the hearing in Pitkin County District Court.
Lopez is charged with felony menacing and misdemeanor reckless endangerment. Basalt police say she became enraged that her husband, Carlos Diaz, 35, was giving a 16-year-old girl a ride to school at Basalt High, believing that the two were in a relationship. The girl and her mother had lived with Lopez and Diaz, though Lopez said in the hearing that that is no longer the case.
According to the arrest affidavit for Lopez, she followed Diaz and the girl to the school. The girl’s mother went with Lopez. The mother did so, according to the juvenile, because Lopez “made her ... so she could see what her daughter was doing with her husband,” wrote Basalt police Sgt. Penny Paxton in the affidavit.
At the school, Diaz apparently saw his wife tailing him and sped off. But as he was driving onto Southside Drive near the school, Lopez allegedly rammed her Honda minivan into his Honda minivan at high speed.
The girl told police that she yelled repeatedly to be let out at that point as “she was very afraid for her life,” the affidavit says. But Diaz, who was also arrested, “told her no, that Alvarez Lopez was a crazy woman and would run her over,” Paxton wrote, citing the girl’s statements. “Diaz kept saying that Alvarez Lopez was crazy.”
The girl said Diaz drove onto Highway 82 headed downvalley, with Lopez pursuing. The high schooler told Paxton that she looked at the speedometer and saw they were going 110 mph.
As they approached the highway’s traffic light at West Willits, near the El Jebel City Market roundabout, the girl said the signal was red. Diaz allegedly drove through the intersection, 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. The driver of the Stratus was taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, and treated and released; he was the only one injured in the accident.
Lopez and Diaz were arrested later Thursday at their residence. Diaz faces misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment, for allegedly not letting the girl out of the vehicle, and reckless endangerment.
In Friday’s court hearing, Deputy District Attorney Richard Nedlin said Diaz also has a federal immigration hold as he is allegedly in the United States illegally. He was being held without bond in the Garfield County Jail, and it was unclear if he was also advised Friday.
Nedlin, saying Lopez put citizens at “substantial risk of injury,” recommended that Judge Gail Nichols of Pitkin County District Court double the standard $2,500 bond.
Nichols, while agreeing with Nedlin that Lopez created “a very dangerous situation,” said the normal $2,500 bond for such alleged offenses was appropriate.
Lopez is due in court Monday.