Craig man arrested after rolling car near Milner while allegedly under influence of meth
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Craig man was arrested Wednesday night after rolling a car off the side of U.S. Highway 40 just west of Milner earlier in the day while allegedly under the influence of methamphetamine.
Justin Meisner, 36, faces nine criminal charges, including vehicular assault — a felony — driving under the influence, driving with a restrained license from a previous DUI, careless driving and making a false report to authorities.
Meisner was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash and was taken to UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center with minor injuries, according to an affidavit obtained from the Routt County Justice Center.
A 39-year-old Craig woman, the only other person in the car, suffered serious injuries, including a pulmonary contusion, multiple rib fractures, a concussion and lacerations to her liver and kidney, according to the affidavit.
Colorado State Patrol troopers were called about the crash at about 3 p.m. Wednesday. The vehicle was traveling east toward Milner when it rolled off the road along a straightaway just before the town.
Troopers later searched the vehicle and found an open marijuana container as well as smoking paraphernalia with burnt marijuana residue.
Trooper Bryan Wojtkiewicz questioned Meisner about the crash at the hospital.
The trooper observed signs Meisner may be under the influence of a controlled substance, such as having involuntary muscle spasms and dilated pupils.
Meisner admitted to using methamphetamine late Tuesday night, less than 24 hours before the crash, according to the affidavit. He also said he used marijuana daily.
Meisner consented to a blood test, and the results of a toxicology report are pending.
When troopers first responded to the crash, Meisner claimed the woman in the car was driving at the time of the accident. When Wojtkiewicz questioned the woman, she said Meisner was driving and explained she could not drive because of medication she had taken.
An investigation of her injuries corroborated her version of events.
The woman had bruising and cuts from glass on the right side of her body, which Wojtkiewicz attributed to the passenger seat belt and the passenger-side window. Meisner suffered bruising on the left side of his body, indicating he was in the driver’s seat, according to the affidavit.
When Wojtkiewicz confronted Meisner about his contradictory account of the accident, he admitted to driving the car. He also admitted to receiving two DUI citations in the past, which revoked his driving privileges. Law enforcement confirmed this with the Colorado Department of Revenue.
As to the cause of the accident, Meisner claimed the steering wheel had locked up and jerked to the side, causing the car to swerve off the road.
Law enforcement officials appeared skeptical of this account in the affidavit. An investigation of the crash indicated the car was traveling along the straight section of the highway and drove gradually off the side of the road. Investigators found no tire marks on the road to suggest the car swerved suddenly, as Meisner claimed.