BRIGHTON, Colo. — A 37-year-old faces charges of vehicular homicide and driving under the influence after he allegedly crashed into another car in Broomfield, killing a mother and her son.
The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s Office filed charges of two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of driving under the influence (fourth of subsequent offense) against Jose Menjivar on Thursday. His next court date is scheduled on January 18, 2024.
The crash happened on the afternoon of Dec. 12 at Main Street and Miramonte Boulevard in Broomfield. According to Broomfield police, the driver of a 2000 Toyota Tundra crashed into a 2016 Mazda CX-5, killing Melissa Powell, 46, and her 16-year-old son, Riordan.
Menjivar was identified as the driver of the Toyota. He was treated at a hospital and then booked into the Broomfield County Jail on multiple charges.
Investigators said they believe alcohol and speed were contributing factors in the crash.
According to records from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Menjivar pled guilty to DUI related crimes in 2007, 2014, 2016, and 2019.
Broomfield High School Principal Ginger Ramsey sent a letter to the community after the crash, saying that Riordan, a junior at the school, died of his injuries.
“The most amazing, quirky kid," said Erin Wise-Jones, Riordan's school psychologist in middle school at Stargate Charter School. “A beautiful heart and fascinating personality. One of my favorite memories was he would always wear a hat, a different hat, depending on the time of year, the season.”
Mother, 16-year-old son killed in alleged DUI crash near Broomfield High School
Wise-Jones became close with the family through Riordan.
“His mom and I became close just through our interactions with the kids. And we even discovered — a kind of random story — his dad and I realized that we share a great-great-grandmother. So we would joke that we were cousins," said Wise-Jones. “I would tell Riordan about things I was doing on the weekend. My daughter did Irish dance for 10 years, and I just casually mentioned over St. Patrick's Day, '"Oh, we're going to be at such and such bar in Brighton." And sure enough, there comes Riordan and Melissa and the family to watch my daughter Irish stepdance.”
She described Melissa as an amazing person who always had a smile on her face and could laugh at anything. Wise-Jones said on Dec. 12, Melissa picked Riordan up from Broomfield High School for a doctor's appointment.
"It was early afternoon, and [she] was merely trying to turn left onto Main Street from Miramonte," Wise-Jones explained. “[Another] car came south on Main Street, going an excess of 80 to 100 miles an hour, out of the blue and t-boned them, and they rolled into the trees and into a nearby golf course.”
The crash has shattered the Powell family, according to Wise-Jones.
“Death permanently alters a family, moreso when it's out of the blue and unexpected and preventable," Wise-Jones said. “The world was robbed of a couple of beautiful, beautiful individuals, beautiful humans... Focus on the lives that were lost, rather than this person who made a horrible choice and cost a family their loved ones.”
A GoFundMe fundraiser was created to support the family. To donate, click here.