An 18-year-old man from Santa Fe, NM, is alleged to have been responsible for the death of Corrina Vaden, an Aurora, CO woman while operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in a severe crash which also injured two other passengers. Luke Griffin is facing criminal charges of vehicular homicide, DUI, and others, and was reported to have been well beyond the legal limits for being impaired. New Mexico’s alcohol threshold for operating a vehicle is merely .02 for those under 21 years of age. In addition, Griffin was named as the defendant in a civil wrongful death case filing. The surviving family members are hoping that justice will be served. Vaden’s sister Corrina described her sister as being filled with energy and love for others. The two injured passengers, Kym Butcher and Elizabeth Rotter, were transported to UNM Hospital with severe injuries but will survive.
Detail of the Tragic Accident
Authorities say the incident occurred at approximately 11 p.m. while traveling on Interstate 25 when Griffin’s car struck the rear of Vaden’s Nissan Versa. Field sobriety tests were attempted; however, Griffin’s state of intoxication was such that officers halted the tests out of fear for his safety. A blood-alcohol test indicated that his level was .22, although he claimed to only have consumed three beers many hours earlier. Griffin is currently being monitored electrically and been ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed in his car. Witnesses say Griffin was traveling approximately 100 mph and was seen tossing a liquor bottle over a nearby fence after the collision.
Civil Suit Filed
Anna Hixson says that she wants justice for those who took her sister away from her. A wrongful death suit was filed in Santa Fe District Court. The suit named three “John Doe” defendants who provided the underage alcohol to Griffin. The suit seeks to recover for damages for personal injury, wrongful death, losses of consortium, medical expenses and funeral costs.
Colorado Laws Relating to this Type of Action
- Negligent drivers that injure others, may be liable for monetary compensation
- Drivers must maintain minimums of liability insurance: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident, and $15,000 in property damage
- Injured parties must have a minimum of $2,500 in medical costs, a disability or a deformity to file suit
- Auto accident injury suits generally must be filed within three years
- When a death is caused by the negligence of another party, the survivors of the deceased may bring a claim of wrongful death
- In wrongful death actions, recovery is available for both economic and noneconomic damages, with the latter limited to $341,250
Colorado Injury Law Firm
For many years, the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal has aggressively pursued redress on behalf of those severely injured or killed in Colorado auto accidents. We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your case. Contact the office today at (303) 825-2223.