Suspect named after truck drives into Idaho Springs home

Corinne Westeman
Posted 1/19/22

An Empire man has turned himself into the police after he reportedly driving his truck into an Idaho Springs home on Jan. 15.

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Suspect named after truck drives into Idaho Springs home

An Empire man has turned himself into police custody after he reportedly drove his truck into an Idaho Springs home on Jan. 15.
Daniel Martinez, 60, was identified as the suspect in the case, according to a Jan. 19 Idaho Springs Police Department press release. Police issued a warrant for his arrest on Jan. 19 and Martinez turned himself into custody a few days later.
Shortly after midnight on Jan. 15, a truck drove into a house in the 1500 block of Idaho Springs’ Colorado Boulevard. The house was occupied at the time, but no one was injured.
The truck had left the scene by the time Idaho Springs officers arrived. Officers determined that the truck veered off the roadway in the 1500 block of Colorado Boulevard, struck a flower container, and then drove into the side of the home. The truck then backed out of the home, struck multiple parked cars, and fled the area.
Around 10:30 a.m. that day, Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a stolen vehicle call near Empire. Deputies contacted Martinez, who wanted to report his truck as stolen. He said he had found it severely damaged that morning a few blocks from his home.
After further questioning by deputies, Martinez reportedly confessed that his truck hadn’t been stolen, and that he was the driver who had struck the Idaho Springs home.
According to ISPD Chief Nate Buseck, the Jan. 19 warrant for Martinez's arrest contained:
  • One count of reckless driving;
  • Three counts of reckless endangerment;
  • One count of leaving the scene of an accident without providing information; and
  • One count of failure to notify police.
Buseck added that ISPD believes Martinez was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, based on witnesses who saw him leave a bar shortly before the crash. However, because more than 10 hours had passed between the crash and when deputies contacted Martinez, there was insufficient blood-alcohol evidence to include a charge of drunken driving on the warrant.
As to why law enforcement didn't arrest Martinez during the Jan. 15 contact, Buseck said that ISPD wanted to gather witness testimonies and video evidence to build a solid case  before handing it over to the District Attorney's Office.
"ISPD empathizes with those that would push for a more timely arrest," Buseck said in a Jan. 21 email to the Courant. "However, ISPD ... did not want to rush the investigation by making a hasty arrest without first gathering all the evidence."
Since the accident, the impacted residents have been staying at local hotels, as the home is unlivable until the damage is repaired.
Kristine Marston started a Go Fund Me to raise $10,000 after her family lost both home and drivable vehicle in the accident. As of 3 p.m. Jan. 19, seven people had donated $385. Others online also planned to donate clothes to the family as well.
"This accident is a lot for anyone to handle, let alone a family with medical problems as well," Marston wrote on the Go Fund Me page. " ... Anyone who can donate clothes, maybe a running vehicle for a super-reasonable price, or point us to an affordable home near our community would be greatly appreciated.
"I know times are tough for so many people right now," she continued, "so even a small amount will help us get our life back."
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