LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) — A woman died after a suspected drunk driver rear-ended her at a red light, forcing her car into traffic.
Now, Todd Kenneth Grudznske, 47, has been arrested and jailed on suspicion of vehicular homicide, DUI, felony DUI, reckless driving, and violation of a protection order.
Lakewood police say 25-year-old Angela Wimmer was on southbound Kipling Street and was stopped stopped at a red light at West Colfax Avenue on Sunday afternoon.
Her car was rear-ended by a truck travelling at a high rate of speed and was pushed into the intersection, where it was hit by three other vehicles.
“We were very close,” said Teresa Cory, Wimmer’s longtime roommate.
Wimmer moved to Colorado from Texas, where her family lives.
Cory told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas she met Wimmer in college, when they were roommates. They clicked, and decided to both pursue careers in Denver, while living together there as well.
The crash scene was spread out over 200 feet and there was massive damage to several of the vehicles involved, according to John Romero with the Lakewood Police Department.
Cory said Wimmer was on her way home from church, when she was hit at the intersection of Colfax and Kipling. Cory was only a few blocks away at the time, at their home.
“She is not here with us anymore, because of (Grudznkse),” Cory said. “It happened right around the corner. I could have walked there in a minute, and been there for her. But, I didn’t know.”
Wimmer was transported to the hospital where she later died from her injures.
When asked her thoughts on the suspect’s extensive record with DUI violations, Cory said she didn’t understand how he was able to be behind the wheel.
“(I am) very angry. Because, it was unnecessary,” Cory said. “Why are there so many exceptions being made? Why was he not stopped before?”
Grudznske also went to the hospital and was later arrested. Alcohol and speed are believed to have played a role in the deadly crash.
While Grudznske awaits court proceedings, Cory said family and friends will focus on mourning the loss of their own.
“To help with this, I am trying to see it as it was her time to go. It was God’s will,” Cory said.
Cory said she would miss her friend’s personality, and willingness to help others.
“(I will miss) her energy, her Texas spunk. Being from Texas, her love for Christ. Angela was a wonderful friend; she will never be replaced,” Cory said.
CBS4 looked into Grudznske’s criminal record and found multiple previous convictions for DUI in Adams and Jefferson counties. Lakewood police confirm he had been previously arrested at least six times.
Police say he was charged with violating a protection order because he was on probation and was prohibited from consuming alcohol.
Cory said one day she planned on advocating for greater DUI enforcement, and awareness, in honor of her friend.
Investigators have not said if anyone in the other three vehicles were seriously hurt.
The intersection was closed Sunday afternoon but has since reopened.
Dillon Thomas contributed to this report. He is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.