Plea offer in works for defendant in traffic accident at CMC intersection south of Glenwood Springs

Juan Escobar Rosales (Colorado State Patrol photo)

A preliminary hearing for a man charged with homicide and driving following a fatal crash on Colorado Highway 82 near Glenwood Springs last December has been adjourned, in lieu of a pending plea deal.

The ninth district attorney’s office on Monday morning accepted Juan Escobar Rosales’ request to waive what had been scheduled for a several-hour preliminary hearing before District Judge John Neiley.

Escobar Rosales, 23, allegedly consumed methamphetamine and drove a stolen vehicle when he caused the crash around 8 a.m. on December 30, 2020 as eastbound motorists were pulled over for the traffic light at the ‘CMC Road / County Road 154 intersection.

According to reports from the Colorado State Patrol, Escobar Rosales’ Chevrolet truck crashed into the back of a Buick sedan driven by Diane Olson, 57, of Glenwood Springs.

Olson died of her injuries the next day and a passenger in her vehicle was seriously injured.

Escobar Rosales was arrested several weeks later after a full state patrol investigation into the incident.

He has been charged with driving homicide, aggravated motor vehicle theft, assault and theft, as well as driving under the influence of drugs and driving without a license. valid.

Escobar Rosales is a Salvadoran national, according to court records, and has remained in Garfield County Jail awaiting immigration since his arrest on January 27.

Public Defender Alex Haynes informed the judge at the start of Monday’s hearing that a plea deal had been pending for several weeks and that Escobar-Rosales wanted to forgo the preliminary hearing phase. The hearing would have determined whether there was enough evidence to take the case to court.

The case continued until an arraignment hearing on Nov. 18, at which a plea is scheduled, Haynes said.

After the crash, Olson, his passenger and Escobar Rosales were all taken to Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs. Olson was pronounced dead the day after her injuries, while Escobar Rosales and the passenger were treated and released.

When questioned by State Patrol investigating officers at the time, Escobar Rosales said he did not see that traffic was cut off due to glare from the sun. He also said he was driving at around 60 mph when the crash happened. The speed limit in this stretch is 55 mph.

Escobar Rosales was initially released on summons for reckless driving causing injury and without a valid driver’s license.

He also told investigators that he borrowed the van from a friend. This led to further investigation revealing that the truck was allegedly taken without permission from a Glenwood Springs company.

Later, pressed on the matter, Escobar Rosales allegedly admitted to stealing the truck on the night of December 24, 2020, when he found it unlocked and the keys inside, according to court documents.

Escobar Rosales also reportedly admitted to using methamphetamine on the morning of the crash and selling tools and ladders that were in the truck for drug money.

Senior Journalist / Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

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