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Driver who hit Boulder bicyclist Magnus White fell asleep at the wheel, investigators say

Charges filed against driver accused of hitting, killing young Boulder bicyclist in July
magnus white affidavit
Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 12:58:00-05

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — The driver who hit and killed Boulder bicyclist 17-year-old Magnus White last July fell asleep at the wheel, investigators allege in a newly released affidavit.

Yeva Smilianska, 23, of Westminster — who was arrested 20 weeks after the July 29 crash on Tuesday on charges of vehicular homicide — denies the allegations and claims there was a steering malfunction. However, authorities determined that her car and steering wheel were functioning properly at the time of the crash.

Investigators with the Colorado State Patrol allege in the affidavit that Smilianska “chose to drive her vehicle after receiving very little sleep.” They allege she texted her friend 20 minutes before the crash, writing that she “was falling asleep.”

Witnesses told CSP investigators that Smiliianska, who was driving a 2004 Toyota Matrix southbound on Highway 119 around noon, was going about 60 mph and weaving in and out of the shoulder before her car was seen veering immediately to the right before striking Magnus, according to the affidavit.

Magnus White

Local News

Magnus White: Charges filed against driver accused of killing Boulder bicyclist

Stephanie Butzer
12:00 PM, Dec 13, 2023

Investigators said there was no evidence of braking on her part before her vehicle left the roadway, and her statements to witnesses at the scene indicate she did not immediately realize she hit Magnus, the affidavit read.

Smilianska told investigators that she was spending time at a friend’s house in Longmont after getting off work at 2 a.m. on July 29. She said she fell asleep at the Longmont home around 3 a.m. and got 8 hours of sleep before returning home to Boulder, according to the affidavit.

However, her phone records, which were obtained by CSP, indicate she got far less sleep than that, investigators allege. Detectives were able to determine, at the most, that “Similianska was sleeping from 6:06 a.m. until 9 a.m.” the day of the deadly crash, according to the document.

Other evidence obtained through forensic work of her phone records shows she texted a friend at 9:09 the morning of the crash. In the text, she wrote, “I’m just wondering, if there is any chance you’re awake already, is there any chance I can buy one more from you?” The friend responded with, “Yes and yes,” according to the affidavit.

Charges filed against driver accused of killing Boulder bicyclist Magnus White

CSP investigators talked to the recipient of the 9:09 a.m. text, and she told them the item Similianska was allegedly trying to buy was phones. However, the 23-year-old suspect told investigators that she was trying to buy marijuana, contradicting her friend, according to the documents. Troopers did not observe any signs of intoxication at the scene of the crash so no blood was drawn.

Similianska is being held at the Boulder County Jail. During a hearing on advisement Wednesday afternoon, her defense said she has no criminal history in the United States or in her native country of Ukraine. She is a refugee who fled to escape the war and has been living in Colorado since with her spouse, her defense said. She had been employed by a business for eight months.

After listing out the factors he was taking into account, Judge Zachary Malkinson set a personal recognizance bond at $100,000. The terms of the bond included pre-trial supervision, no driving, and surrendering her passport. Personal recognizance bonds, or PR bonds, allow a suspected offender to get out of jail without having to pay any money with just a promise to return to court when ordered.

Magnus was on the verge of becoming a world-class cyclist. At the time of the crash, he was wearing his Team USA jersey and training for the Junior Mountain Bike World Championships in Scotland, his family said.

Magnus White

After the arrest was announced on Wednesday, family of Magnus White said in a statement that the driver "willfully and consciously chose to get behind the wheel of her car, engaging in reckless driving behavior that resulted in the fatal collision into our son Magnus who was struck from behind and ejected from his bicycle."

The family said they would struggle this season, as Christmas was the teen's favorite holiday.

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