The Delta Police Department has issued a warrant for the arrest of James H. Catlin, 31, of North Quincy, Mass., charging him with vehicular homicide in the Feb. 6 accident that resulted in the death of Gladys "Josie" Varela.
Catlin also faces charges of vehicular assault, unlawful use of a controlled substance, driving under the influence (alcohol), driving under the influence per se (alcohol), driving under the influence (drugs), reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
The warrant was issued March 13 as a result of an extensive investigation into the two-vehicle head-on collision that occurred Feb. 6 in the 1300 block of Highway 50 North.
At approximately 7:25 p.m., Gladys "Josie" Varela was driving a 1998 green Subaru Forester east on Highway 50 when she was hit head on by a 2016 gray Ford Fusion driven by Catlin. Varela, 19, of Olathe was pinned in the driver's seat and died as a result of the injuries she sustained during the crash. Her passenger, Victor Varela, 47, of Olathe sustained serious injuries as well. He was transported to Delta County Memorial Hospital for treatment.
According to the DPD, James Catlin was pinned in the front driver seat of the gray Ford. He was reported to be unconscious yet breathing. He was eventually extricated from the vehicle and transported to St. Mary's Medical Center in Grand Junction for treatment where he was reported to have sustained life-threatening injuries. The passenger in his vehicle, Nathaniel Merrill, 35, of Cedaredge sustained unknown visible injuries but refused medical treatment.
Catlin is described as a white male, 5'9" tall, 175 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
Multiple agencies, to include Delta Fire, Delta County Ambulance District, Delta County Sheriff's Office, and Colorado State Patrol worked together to assist in the investigation, care for those involved and clean up the accident scene. Both vehicles were towed from the scene and the highway was fully re-opened around 12:45 a.m.
Two accidents involving school property are proving costly for Delta County Joint School District, district business manager Jim Ventrello reported last week. Both incidents involved uninsured drivers, forcing the school district to file claims with its insurance provider and pay deductibles of $10,000.