Three high school seniors were arrested Throwing a terrain rock A Colorado woman was killed while driving outside of Denver, authorities said Wednesday.
Alexa Bartel, 20, was killed in Westminster on April 19 at 10:45 p.m. when a rock was thrown through her windshield while she was driving north in the 10600 block of Indiana Street. Jefferson County Sheriff OffI amwhat am iThe interrogators.
Bartel was the last of several cars that night near 100th Avenue and Sims Street to be “struck by large landscaping rocks that began shortly after” around 10 p.m., authorities said.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jackie Kelly told reporters that tips from the public and cell phone data were instrumental in finding and arresting the suspects.
“This case touched a lot of people deeply,” Kelly said. “This was a beautiful young woman who had her whole life driving home ahead of her, and her life ended as a result of these actions. It was a shock to a community, and people wanted to find out who was involved.”
Incholas “Mitch” Carroll-Chick, Joseph Koenig and Zachary Kwak, all 18, were taken into custody at their homes in Arvada, according to the sheriff’s report.
All three are 12th-graders in Jefferson County Public Schools, Kelly said. One attends Ralston Valley High School, another attends Standley Lake High School and a third is enrolled in an online program, the spokeswoman said.
A representative for the school district could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.
Two suspects were arrested at 10:59 p.m. Tuesday and the third at 2 a.m. Wednesday, Kelly told reporters. All of them lived with their parents.
Sheriff’s investigators called Bartell’s family around midnight to inform them of the arrest.
“They’re grateful,” Kelly said. “They are still experiencing the greatest possible loss.”
Officials said the rockfall that killed Bartell about 20 miles northwest of Denver and 10 miles southeast of Boulder has not been reported since then.
“The rock came through Alexa Bardell’s windshield and hit her and killed her,” Kelly told NBC News on Wednesday. “All the rocks we’ve described in this crime series are about 4 to 6 inches in size and 3 to 5 pounds a piece. They’re great rock landscaping rocks.”
The suspects were traveling in a black 2016 Chevy Silverado, although it was not immediately clear who was driving or who threw the rock that killed Bartell, officials said.
“We believe our victims vehicle was traveling in the opposite direction,” Kelly said.
A case was registered against all three on suspicion First degree murder by gross negligenceAccording to the sheriff.
While first-degree murder is usually related to the victim and intent, Colorado’s gross negligence statute is for defendants who intended to kill someone — but not the targeted individual, said Ann England, a University of Colorado medical law professor.
“You pulled out an AK-47 and fired into a crowd of people, and then there was no doubt that you intended to kill,” England said, even if it wasn’t aimed at a specific person.
“It would be difficult to throw a rock (and be charged with first-degree murder). I mean, is throwing a rock a known danger (that it could kill someone)? If you throw a rock at a moving car, it’s obvious that someone is dead now, right? But before that? I’m not entirely sure.
It was not immediately clear whether the three had hired or appointed criminal defense attorneys to speak on their behalf.
Phone calls to publicly listed phone numbers for Colorado relatives of Koenig, Kwak and Karol-Chik were not returned Wednesday.
All three teenagers were expected to appear in court as early as Thursday morning.
Kelly said he can recall individual incidents of rocks or bricks being thrown from bridges in Colorado over the years, but never such a series of reckless actions.
“These suspects threw large rocks through the windshields of moving vehicles and went from place to place, something we have never seen before.”