The Boulder County district attorney will not file charges in connection with the tragic death of a 13-year-old girl in Boulder Creek last Saturday after the truck she was riding in crashed into the water.
District Attorney Stan Garnett said Wednesday that he and his staff made the determination after reviewing evidence presented by the Colorado State Patrol, which is conducting an investigation into the accident.
"This case is an unspeakable tragedy for this entire family," he said. "Filing charges would serve no meaningful purpose and would add significantly to this family's pain."
Sophia DuBose was riding with her father, Beverly "Bo" Means DuBose IV, and twin sister, Eliza, all of Rollinsville, on Saturday when the truck they were riding in collided with another car that had stopped for a bear in Boulder Canyon.
The truck, which has been identified by Colorado State Patrol as a 2000 Ford F250, then crashed into the runoff-swollen creek. The father and sister were able to climb to safety, but Sophia floated several miles downstream before crews were able to reach her.
If you go
What: Sophia DuBose celebration of life memorial service
When: 4 p.m. Thursday
Where: Shining Mountain Waldorf School Festival Hall, 999 Violet Ave., Boulder
More info: The family is extending a personal invitation to any first responders or personnel who assisted in Sophia's rescue.
Sophia's father, Bo DuBose, declined to comment Wednesday, citing the difficult circumstances around his daughter's death. A celebration of life memorial service for Sophia is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
The Boulder County Coroner's Office has not yet determined the cause and manner of Sophia's death. Coroner Emma Hall said the results of the autopsy are expected in six to eight weeks.
Garnett said evidence collected by the State Patrol, as well as the personal dynamics involved in the situation, led to his decision not to bring charges.
"It's obviously a very, very tragic situation," Garnett said. "It's hard to imagine a car accident situation much more tragic than that one."
In describing some preliminary findings, State Patrol Trooper Nate Reid said the car that stopped for the bear has been identified as a 2006 Toyota RAV4.
He said the driver of the RAV4, Aimee Sanders, 38, of Lyons, was traveling north on Colo. 119, toward Boulder, and stopped at mile marker 36 when she saw a bear crossing the road, he said.
Sanders could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
DuBose, who was traveling north on Colo. 119 behind Sanders, attempted to slow down and swerved to the right to avoid a collision. The front left of DuBose's truck collided with the right rear of the RAV4, Reid said.
Donations for Sophia DuBose
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be sent to:
Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center, PO Box 3017, Nederland, Colorado, 80466.
DuBose's truck continued to the right, drove off the right shoulder and down a steep embankment. It rolled onto its roof in Boulder Creek, then rolled back upright, and rolled a final time back onto its roof, where it came to rest.
All three occupants exited the vehicle, however, investigators don't know how they exited or what their conditions were at that time, Reid said.
He said Sophia continued down the river for six miles.
Reid said it's still unclear where the two sisters were sitting in the truck. All three people in the truck were wearing seat belts, he said.
Reid said investigators haven't yet determined why DuBose couldn't stop the truck in time to avoid hitting the RAV4.
Investigators will look into whether DuBose's view was obstructed somehow, whether the brake lights on the RAV4 were working properly, whether DuBose was distracted or whether he was following too closely, among other possibilities.
Reid said Sanders was right to stop for the bear and was uninjured by the crash.
"We don't want anybody to put themselves in jeopardy by hitting an animal as big as a bear," Reid said. "(Sanders) did the right thing by stopping and trying to allow it to cross."
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