A 19-year-old woman accused of causing a three-car crash earlier this month on north Main Avenue in Durango was charged Thursday in 6th Judicial District Court with seven offenses.
Nezhoni Mae Patton, who appeared via closed-circuit video from the La Plata County Jail, was charged with vehicular assault, assault, drunken driving, reckless driving, obstructing a police officer, possession of alcohol by a minor and driving without a valid drivers license.
Patton, a Durango resident, faces two to six years in prison if found guilty of vehicular assault, the most serious charge.
According to police, Patton was driving south on Main Avenue at a high rate of speed when she rear-ended a Toyota van as it was making a left-hand turn. The van had been traveling north on Main Avenue and was turning left onto 25th Street.
Surveillance video from a nearby gas station shows a break in traffic as the van begins to make the turn, and a sedan allegedly driven by Patton then quickly enters into view of the camera, according to an arrest affidavit.
“The sedan appeared to be traveling at a much greater speed than other traffic on the roadway,” the affidavit says. “The sedan did not appear to attempt to slow down or take any actions to avoid a collision.”
The impact caused the van to spin 180 degrees. Meanwhile, Patton’s vehicle veered into the oncoming lane of travel and struck a truck pulling a trailer, according to police.
A passenger in Patton’s sedan suffered a broken nose and a broken jaw. The man was flown to a hospital in Grand Junction for additional care.
At the scene, Durango Police Department officers noticed multiple signs of intoxication on the part of Patton, including an odor of alcohol on her breath, and red, watery, bloodshot eyes, according to the affidavit.
The crash occurred about 10 a.m. Aug. 10. Traffic on Main Avenue was constricted for about 2½ hours while first responders processed the scene.
Officers attempted to place Patton in handcuffs, but she resisted arrest, police said.
She was eventually taken to Mercy Hospital for an evaluation. While at the hospital, she allegedly kicked a security officer in the stomach, according to the affidavit. For that, she was charged with assault.