By Lauren DiSpirito
BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Newly released court documents show the teen driver who struck and killed a Boulder couple last month was on his way home from smoking marijuana with friends at the time of the crash.
On May 7, the 17-year-old male, whose name CBS4 has chosen not to release because he is a juvenile, was headed westbound on Arapahoe Avenue near Foothills Parkway. Shortly before midnight, Joe Ramas, 39, and Stacey Reynolds, 30, were stopped at the intersection’s red light in a left turn lane when the teen driver struck their vehicle at a speed upwards of 45 miles per hour. According to an arrest affidavit, police did not find any evidence the teen driver tried to brake before the crash.
Both Ramas and Reynolds were taken to Boulder Community Health with critical injuries and later died. The teen driver was transported to Good Samaritan Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and was later released.
The teen driver now faces felony charges of vehicular homicide and is charged in Boulder County Court with driving under the influence, reckless driving, improper lane change, and running a red light.
After the crash, the teen driver told police he was headed home to make his midnight curfew and realized he would be late, according to the arrest affidavit. He also admitted to consuming marijuana. A friend told police he’d met the teen driver and another friend in Erie to smoke marijuana an hour before the collision. Officers who responded to the crash reported the teen driver’s pupils “appeared larger than normal” and they smelled an odor of marijuana coming from him. Another witness told police the teen driver “reeked of marijuana,” the document states.
Because the teen has no criminal history, and the allegations against him do not rise to Class 1 or 2 felonies, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett’s office said the case does not fit the legal requirements necessary to charge him as an adult. He is being prosecuted as a juvenile. His attorney declined to comment about the crash and the legal case to CBS4.
Friends of Ramas and Reynolds say they are not focusing on the punishment the teen driver may face for his actions that night. They say that is not what the couple would have wanted.
“There’s a lot of love that needs to be sent to everyone all around,” Cassie Drew, a friend both Ramas and Reynolds, said. “It’s not about resentment, or getting back, or feeling angry. His life is forever changed and we recognize that, we recognize how much this will impact him and his family.”
Through the Boulder Circus Center, Drew became close friends with both Ramas and Reynolds. A dancer, musician, record label owner, and circus performer, Ramas was influential in Boulder’s circus and performing arts communities. He worked at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, building and testing components of space weather instruments. Friends say Ramas mastered many skills, including becoming a sushi chef and coffee barista. He was regarded as a great problem solver.
Reynolds was a math teacher and had taken up acro yoga. Friends call Reynolds a “bright light” who had a “warm” and “accepting energy” about her. Ramas and Reynolds had recently started dating. The night of the crash, they celebrated Stacey’s first performance at the circus center. They were headed home from the event at the time of the crash.
“They stood for some really great things that I think would make this world a better place,” said friend Lani Gordon. “To remember them is to be loving, and honest, to support people, to listen to them, to work together to make people’s dreams possible, and, to celebrate every day.”