CHICAGO, IL – In a tragic incident that has shaken the community of Broomfield, Colorado, a mother and her teenage son lost their lives in a high-speed crash caused by a habitual drunk driver. The accused, 37-year-old Jose Menjivar, now faces vehicular homicide charges following the fatal accident that occurred on December 12.
Driving a 2000 Toyota Tundra, Menjivar collided with a 2016 Mazda CX-5 at Main Street and Miramonte Boulevard, near Broomfield High School. The impact of the crash was devastating, resulting in the deaths of 46-year-old Melissa Powell and her 16-year-old son, Riordan. Menjivar, found unconscious at the scene, was hospitalized before being booked into the Broomfield County jail. He is charged with vehicular homicide due to reckless driving, DUI, and being a habitual traffic offender.
Investigations revealed alarming details about the circumstances leading to the crash. According to Denver reporters, Menjivar drove at 100 mph in a 40 mph zone. His blood-alcohol level was measured at more than three times the legal limit. Furthermore, he reportedly had no recollection of the crash. Police found empty beer cans and an open case of beer in the truck, along with a strong odor of alcohol. Adding to the gravity of the situation, Menjivar’s license had been revoked, and he was not legally permitted to drive until July 2024.
Menjivar’s history of DUI offenses is extensive and troubling. Denver CBS affiliate KCNC-TV reported that he had pleaded in a drunken driving case just four days before the fatal crash. His record includes five prior drinking and driving-related convictions spanning several years. This history underscores the persistent and dangerous behavior that ultimately led to this tragic event.
The Boulder County District Attorney, Michael Dougherty, emphasized the gravity of drunk driving, stating, “There is no excuse for drunken driving, and a person must be held responsible for their decision to drink and drive.” The case is under thorough review, including the sentences imposed by the court in previous instances.
The loss of Melissa and Riordan Powell has left an indelible mark on their family and community. Kim Powell, Melissa’s sister-in-law, expressed the profound grief and void their deaths have caused. “An immeasurable void has been left in our family and communities, and the world feels less bright without them,” she told The Denver Gazette. The family, grappling with this immense loss during the holiday season, has requested privacy to mourn.
A fundraising site has been set up to support Powell’s surviving sons, highlighting Melissa and Riordan’s significant impact on those around them. Jeremiah Garrick, a family friend, described the situation as hard to grasp, noting the inconceivable loss and the financial burdens it has imposed on the Powell family.
Menjivar is scheduled to appear in court on January 18, facing the consequences of his actions that have irreversibly altered the lives of many. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the devastating effects of drunk driving and the importance of holding individuals accountable for their choices behind the wheel.