Speeding, drug and alcohol impairment blamed for triple fatal crash in Las Animas County

Posted at 7:42 PM, Jan 17, 2019

LAS ANIMAS COUNTY, Colo. – Speeding, along with drug and alcohol impairment, are being blamed for a triple-car crash in Las Animas County that resulted in the deaths of a sheriff’s deputy, a woman and her 1-year-old child. That’s according to a report released by the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office on Thursday.

The report states Taelor Roybal, 23, of Trinidad, was driving under the influence of alcohol at over twice the legal limit eastbound on Highway 12 the night of December 12, 2018, when she lost control of the vehicle after entering a curve. A report from the Colorado State Patrol states Roybal crossed the center lane and entered the westbound lanes of the highway, where she collided head-on with a westbound vehicle driven by Las Animas County Sgt. Matthew Moreno.

After crashing head-on with Moreno, Roybal’s vehicle was then struck broadside by a second Animas County deputy vehicle driven by Deputy Trent Gomez, 25, of Trinidad. The deputies were on their way to a domestic disturbance call when the collision occurred.

The investigation into the deadly crash also revealed that Roybal was not only under the influence of alcohol, but that she also had a significant amount of Oxycontin in her system.

Additionally, the report states that Roybal was traveling at 96 mph on a 45 mph zone as she approached the curve where the crash occurred. Further findings state that both Roybal and Moreno were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash and that Roybal's son, 1-year-old Ezekiel Valdez, also from Trinidad, was not properly secured in his seat. The child would later die at a hospital.

In a video posted to YouTube, Captain Brian Lyons, a Colorado State Patrol Commander for Pueblo, Huerfano and Las Animas Counties, explained both Sgt. Moreno and Roybal were traveling at a high rate of speed when the crash took place. In the report released by the district attorney's office, however, spokesman Henry Solano said the office agreed "with the assessment of the Colorado State Patrol that Ms. Roybal was responsible for this crash."

No charges will be filed as a result of the investigation, CSP officials said.