Skip to content
Greg Franta
Greg Franta

BOULDER, Colo. –

A bartender at a Denver strip club that Greg Franta visited hours before police believe he died in a car crash said he was “already drunk” when he came in and was cut off after one scotch, according to court documents providing new details of the Boulder architect’s final hours alive.

Franta’s body was found March 10 at the scene of a car accident off southbound Colo. 93 that happened a month earlier. In the early-morning hours of Feb. 9, according to the Colorado State Patrol, Franta’s 2006 Honda Civic hybrid went 363 feet off the road, hit two trees and slid down a ravine, landing on its roof.

Because it was out of sight from the highway, the 58-year-old father of three was considered missing for a month before a cyclist found the car. Upon initial investigation, Trooper David Hall said, officers didn’t suspect alcohol was involved and said they might never know if he had been drunk because too much time had passed for effective toxicology testing.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office hasn’t released results of Franta’s toxicology tests, and officials from the office didn’t return calls from the Camera on Wednesday.

According to search warrants filed in Boulder County Court and released this week, a strip club employee remembered that Franta was “very drunk” that night. Below are details outlined in the warrants:

A surveillance video shows that Franta entered The Player’s Club about 10:30 p.m. Feb. 8 and stayed at the club until about 1:30 a.m. â the last time he was seen alive.

A bartender served an “already drunk” Franta one scotch and water when he arrived and told him he was being cut off. Franta dropped that drink, and the employee said she replaced it. But, the employee said, Franta wasn’t served any more while she was on duty until 11 p.m.

While he was at the club, employees said, Franta tried to withdraw cash from an ATM several times but was unsuccessful. His daughter told investigators she found that concerning because American Express doesn’t allow cash withdrawals and “Gregory was aware of that.”

Franta’s wife, Jana Simpson, told police that Franta “does have a habit of drinking too much alcohol at times.” She said that when he “drinks too much, he is known to either drive home, get a hotel room for the evening, or sleep in his car along the roadway/parking lot.”

Simpson, who was in Mexico at the time her husband disappeared, said she was unaware, however, that Franta visited strip clubs.

Franta was in Denver that night to drop off one of his daughters after they had dinner together at Piatta Restaurant in Boulder. His daughter told police that Franta “was in a good mood (as usual) when she last saw him.”

Investigators have said they don’t suspect foul play in Franta’s death, but questions remain, including why he was driving south on Colo. 93 â away from his Boulder home.

Archived comments

I’m just glad he didn’t kill someone else while drunk driving.God bless his family.

summerof1975

4/1/2009 7:06:12 PM

Another story about a drunk driver getting in a fatal crash that has a happy ending: he didn’t kill anybody.

That makes two this week!

ThatCertainWoman

4/1/2009 8:58:31 PM

If you call a tragic crash like this a ‘happy ending’ you need to have your head examined.In case you havent noticed, he did kill someone – himself, and to some extent, his family and friends.

I betcha a million bucks that you exceeded the legal limit while driving more than once in your life.If not (really, never) then perhaps you can crow about how holier-than-all you are.But, most people have and, hopefully, reading this story will discourage people from imbibing before driving….better yet, quit getting drunk.

JakPott

4/1/2009 9:11:07 PM

THE PLAYERS CLUB HASN’T BEEN AROUND FOR 6 YEARS.

OHHHH….YEAH & IT WASN’T A STRIP CLUB.

I MUST BE OUT OF THE LOOP IF THERE’S ANOTHER

“PLAYER’S CLUB” IN BOULDER COUNTY.

WHAT EVER.

LET THE POOR GUY & FAMILY, HAVE SOME DIGNITY

MisterPist

4/1/2009 9:31:45 PM

Good thing this didn’t happen in Texas… the bartender would have been fined by the TABC, and a full out investigation would have been aimed at the bar/bartender to pin the death on them. If he ws that drunk when he entered the club he should have been turned away from the very start.

Not only should people drink responsibly, but they should be served responsibly as well.

Tragic story…

InsipidPhenom

4/1/2009 9:34:38 PM

There is always a nut case in these postings, like ThatCertainWoman.She obviously is not playing with a full deck.Probably forgot to take her meds today.

wilson

4/1/2009 9:34:49 PM

hey CrakPott… zip it.

Jesus_was_a_socialist

4/1/2009 10:06:02 PM

58 year old architect in this economy???? Wife seems to have no clue and care little. Her husband has an alcohol problem and drives drunk and she’s pretty blasse about it. Doesn’t know he’s at strip clubs while she’s in Mexico. Sounds like a man with a marriage and career on the skids.

laughinghard

4/1/2009 10:07:04 PM

wasn’t this guy posited as a pillar of the community in the last news about this accident?Too bad all of this happened, but it sounds like there were secrets and some troubles under the surface.

Sad story, no matter what.

civilibertarian

4/1/2009 10:24:29 PM

alcohol – no surprise there – its boulder

msw3410

4/1/2009 10:27:40 PM

Posted by civilibertarian on April 1, 2009 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

wasn’t this guy posited as a pillar of the community in the last news about this accident?

*****

I’m not sure what the work environment is at the camera, but I see a lot of articles supporting people as pillars of the community when they’re driving drunk or caught with drugs. The editor even comes out with special columns supporting them-as long as they were people with money and position. So, no suprise they painted him as special. And yeah, obviously lots of secrets here. Wife in mexico and driving to denver strip club so the pillar in his community wasn’t recognized at the Bus Stop.

laughinghard

4/1/2009 10:47:54 PM

Not tryin’ to be cute, doc.But it’s the truth.Your choices lead to actions and those actions have consequences.Does it not work that way in your world?

Here’s a not cute quote from another current news story about someone actually killed by a drunk driver.You may have heard of this one:

“A Miami Beach police report said Reyes was not in a crosswalk on busy MacArthur Causeway when he was struck by the black 2005 Bentley luxury car driven by Stallworth. The construction crane operator was trying to catch a bus home after finishing his shift around 7:15 a.m.”

Or how about the mother and her two children killed in LoDo a couple of years ago, run over by a drunk driver hit-and-run, while they were crossing WITH the light.Only the husband survived, if you can call it that after losing everyone he loved.

Or the two women killed while taking a taxi to DIA for their return flight home.Both beloved in their community, both with families, both killed by a woman who was at least double the legal limit at 10 AM.

So, yes, I’m very happy this guy didn’t kill someone (else).If anyone had to die that night, it should have been him and him alone.Anything else would have been a tragedy.

If you have oodles and oodles of sympathy for drunk drivers, more power to you.But I rank them near scum, but lower.

ThatCertainWoman

4/1/2009 11:49:14 PM

ThatCertainWoman….obviously not playing with a full deck. Probably forgot to take her meds today.

wilson

4/2/2009 12:29:35 AM

“Franta’s wife, Jana Simpson, told police that Franta “does have a habit of drinking too much alcohol at times.” She said that when he “drinks too much, he is known to either drive home, get a hotel room for the evening, or sleep in his car along the roadway/parking lot.””

Ummmm…..hello!

ttinco

4/2/2009 4:25:38 AM

Woman, nothing you say is clever.You’re not cute, and in fact where I sit you’re nothing more than a bitter little POS with a shrivelled soul and a chip on your shoulder.Get help.

Any of you who sit there with a smug little, “he dun got what he dun dizzervt” attitude are pretty much the same, and no amount of rebutting with petty insults and claiming victory over some pretend argument will change that.

Dr_Belfrey

4/1/2009 10:24:55 PM

JakPott-

I think that to say “Most” people have driven drunk is stretching it quite a bit.I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve made that asinine decision on at least one occasion in your life, and I hope you don’t do that anymore.It puts us all at risk when you do.

MK_Love

4/2/2009 7:15:49 AM

to all the apologists on this site who complain about the sensitivity every time someone dies, you aren’t always justified in your blind faith.

This guy needed an intervention on many levels when he was alive, and his family deserved no sympathy for enabling him to continue his path to death.

bouldermeister

4/2/2009 7:17:23 AM

This just sounds like a typical sad human story on many levels.I bet there are many who are just one mistake away from a similar path.

Lets just move on and let the family deal with it in their own way.

trappist99@yahoo.com

4/2/2009 7:51:50 AM

bouldermeister –

I don’t think the message here is about hypersensitivity every time someone dies. Really, that’s just life and that’s mortality, a fact of the world in which we live.

Rather, it’s about calling a situation where someone dies a “happy ending”. A “happy ending” to this would have been him getting over whatever caused him to drink to excess and make poor decisions when he did – I think any number of professional alcohol evaluators and substance abuse professionals would agree that THAT is the “happy ending” – not his death. I even would argue to say that most mainstream MADD members would rather see someone with a problem live to overcome it – because after all, Mr. Franta was someone’s son, husband, and father.

It is ridiculous to say that his family deserves his death because they are culpable for this. The contention that his own death is justified because he made a mistake is based on the very tenet that actions have consequences and that he is personally responsible for that decision. On the other hand, when you shift blame to the family (either partially or fully), that means that he is not personally accountable for a bad driving decision. That is pretty inconsistent logic. Arguments of logic aside, I hope those folks who make this argument have never had a family member ever make a bad decision, because if you have, then you know you can’t control other people’s actions – maybe at best influence them and guide them in what you think is the best course of action.

NSFW

4/2/2009 8:03:41 AM

I did not say they deserved his death, I said they contributed to it.

and I wasn’t talking about the ‘happy ending’ comment, I was talking about earlier articles where people were offended at the truthful posts about this man.

bouldermeister

4/2/2009 8:14:21 AM

It sounds like he left the club & wanted to take the back way home to Boulder perhaps to avoid traffic & cops/ on U.S 36. He may have been so drunk that he fell asleep at the wheel…. Who knows what other dugs may have been in his system as well….An alcoholic can seem ‘fine’ for months even years & there is no way to really predict when they decide to pick up a drink again. This story is no mysteryor big surprise to me because I feel like I can relate to what was going on with him that night- Tragic Indeed !

Gardenburgers4prariedogs

4/2/2009 8:20:03 AM

“Investigators have said they don’t suspect foul play in Franta’s death, but questions remain, including why he was driving south on Colo. 93 â away from his Boulder home.”

If no crime is suspected and nobody else was injured, why is this investigation even going on? What is to be gained from any further details here? I don’t know Mr. Franta, but it seems that his own bad decisions led to his death. Do we really need to know any more than that?

joeschuele@comcast.net

4/2/2009 8:33:54 AM

if this guy suffered from alcoholism, then he had about as much control over his situation as someone with cancer does.

dandguru@yahoo.com

4/2/2009 8:52:49 AM

If that’s true, dandguru, then why are some people able to quit drinking and others aren’t?It takes making that first step, I guess after “hitting bottom” or whatever.But clearly some people turn their lives around through their own effort.Don’t you agree?

ThatCertainWoman

4/2/2009 9:01:21 AM

joe – the only reason I can think is that the life insurance policy probably has a DUI clause.I’m sure it’s not the wife or kids asking for the investigation.

bouldermeister

4/2/2009 9:14:28 AM

Gosh, NSFW.Where did you get your degree in pop psychology?Was it one of those mail-order deals you get by mailing in the flap of the Frosted Flakes box?

I’m really baffled why my comments offend you so much.Truly.This guy got (allegedly very) drunk and then hit the road with a two-ton deadly weapon.Then, probably due to his own depressed reaction time, got into some kind of accident, the result of which was his own death.Do you wish an innocent bystander would have been killed, as well?Would that have made *you* happy?I’m not wrong in being relieved that this man did not kill anyone else.I’m also not wrong in making the personal judgment that this guy was very irresponsible and reckless.That doesn’t imply I’m perfect, it just means that I have an opinion.But I gather you prefer not to make judgments about anybody at any time, probably due to some relativistic world-view in which no behavior/culture/belief is better or worse than any other.I, on the other hand, don’t suffer from such limitations on my ability to assess objective information.

Perhaps my comment was perceived as more flippant than I intended – you can’t always tell someone’s tone in online communication.But the sentiment is genuine.When I read stories about drunk drivers getting into fatal accidents, my interest is first and foremost directed at whether or not they took out anyone else.If they did, then my thoughts and sympathies are 100% with the innocent victim(s).If they didn’t, then I don’t spend a moment more thinking about the drunk driver who died.Simple as that.If that means in your eyes I am not thinking about the right people or things, then that’s your bias.What *I* find ironic is that you purport to not judge anybody, and condemn those who do, and yet are eager to issue detailed statements about what’s wrong with anyone who doesn’t think like you do.

ThatCertainWoman

4/2/2009 9:22:24 AM

“She said that when he ‘drinks too much, he is known to either drive home, get a hotel room for the evening, or sleep in his car along the roadway/parking lot.'”

For those of you looking for additional options when drunk, calling a cab also works and is probably a little safer and less expensive.

davelax40@aol.com

4/2/2009 9:51:08 AM

Ever been involved with any sort of rehab program TCW? I think not, because you would have learned the answer, at least in theory, to your questions. Recovery from addiction, even recognition of addiction isn’t one size fits all.

There’s one theory – it might even be fact – that some folks’ chemical make-up causes alcohol to have an opiate affect, as effective and addicting as heroin. This might set one alcoholic apart from someone who’s simply a habitual heavy drinker.

And “hitting rock bottom” is, in my humble opinion, a cute little catch phrase born of ABC Sunday Night movies.

I’ve known both flavors of alcoholics. Those to whom having a beer in their hand at all times is as natural as having a diet coke is to me. I’ve know the opiate sort as well – watched it kill that person. Ugly death. Involves lots of fun stuff like paranoia and hallucinations. (actually, lots of stuff eventually killed her, but the alcohol part…ugh).

And to those of you who want to throw blame at the family, I want to offer another little rehab tidbit – You have to save yourself first. You can’t fix an alcoholic parent, sibling, or spouse. When you try, you WILL fail, and you will kill your own spirit in the process. You need to separate yourself – compartmentalize if you will – your emotions for that person versus that person’s addiction and how that addiction effects your life.

There’s some great books defining codependence, but the important message is that family can and should support an addict, but control will never happen.

SO, in short, back off his family. Some of them are probably inappropriately beating themselves up right now, and don’t need your jeers and condemnations to help them along.

Ibbits

4/2/2009 9:54:42 AM

“Another story about a drunk driver getting in a fatal crash that has a happy ending.”

Seriously? What kind of degenerate would write this? Shameful and cowardly. If you want to spit on this man’s grave have the guts to sign your name.

jminer42

4/2/2009 9:54:46 AM

Alcoholism is a choice.Cancer is not.The myth that choosing to imbibe is equivalent to a disease is the biggest snow job ever to cloak the hapless souls entering AA.The notion that you have no control over lifting a drink to your mouth is complete poppycock.Alcoholics know very well what their ‘problem’ is, but choose to ignore it in favor of thinking they are in ‘control’, or they have a secret death wish in which they dont really care what happens as long as they get drunk.

A ‘happy ending’ is when one of these people recognize that there is life beyond their familiar pattern of getting drunk, that the mind will adjust to the initial boredom of not drinking anymore.That inspiration can be found in simple things instead of a booze and adrenalin fueled evening of good food and fine looking ladies.

The people here pointing and laughing at this poor guys situation claiming he got what he deserved are without compassion or reality.I seriously doubt that these folks live a lilly white life of perfection, never ever having more than one wine at dinner or ever driving over the speed limit.I am sure these folks also correct the behavior of anyone in their family who appears to be crossing the line and quizzes them or provides rides for them after dinner parties.

The only person to blame in this is Greg.His family will suffer enough thinking they might have been able to ‘do more’.Their efforts would have been unsuccessful.The choice was his and his alone.

JakPott

4/2/2009 9:56:31 AM

What is wrong with you people?

Haven’t you heard the adage “Don’t speak ill of the dead”?

iloveplants

4/2/2009 9:58:21 AM

sawyer wrote: “It sounds like he left the club & wanted to take the back way home to Boulder perhaps to avoid traffic & cops on U.S 36.”

It’s a good thought, but he was Southbound on Hwy 93, going away from Boulder. And there is just no good way to get from 67th and Federal to Southbound on that section of 93. The most plausible routes would be 80th or 88th West, and then a wrong turn onto Hwy 93.

The accident location has never been well described in the media. He went into the canyon/ravine between Ralston reservoir and Arvada reservoir, about 1/2 mile North of Hwy 93 and W 64th Pkwy.

My personal hypothesis is, he was on his way from Boulder to see someone in W Arvada or Golden. Someone who, for what ever reasons, didn’t want to get involved.

RoseFromTheDead

4/2/2009 10:22:22 AM

Alas, and not surprisingly, the anonymous trolls have plenty of mean and thoughtless things to say.

dgrinbergs

4/3/2009 12:38:47 AM

Seems most unfortunate – and stupid – for a server to agree to supply more alcohol to a drunk person. I wonder if they’re going to get sued.

I saw Mr. Franta’s green building practices talk at the Chautauqua Community House a few years ago; it was a really good presentation for a full house. So sorry to lose such a bright and talented fellow.

dgrinbergs

4/3/2009 12:49:24 AM

ThatCertainWoman must be perfect, because that is really the only way one can be so high and mighty. No, there is another explanation, and it generally stems from some kind of insecurity about personality flaws, or unresolved feelings of shame.

Driving Under The Influence is a HORRIBLE thing no doubt, and while from the dogma she spews here we all can be certain ThatCertainWoman has ALWAYS driven with a .000 BAC, always been VERY attentive, and never made a dangerous traffic decision, there is probably something equally disturbing deep down that makes her such a judgmental person.

A judgmental person that can be so myopic as to think someone’s death is a happy ending, even if it is through a mistake of their own.

I’m not sure what event has been so sad and scarring in TCW’s life that it drives her to think it is OK for others to die because of a mistake, I just hope that it makes her feel better and that eventually she can find some kind of resolution to this affliction she carries and causes her to be so callous towards human life. Quite ironic.

I think we need to treat her fairly, with respect, and love regardless of how insensitive and cold-hearted she appears, because she’s a person, too. That is something she obviously doesn’t afford other humans, especially when she only knows them through a newspaper article.

Good luck, TCW, I hope you find what you’re looking for, even if it is through brooding about other people’s inadequacies and mistakes.

NSFW

4/2/2009 7:55:01 AM

Picking up a drink is a choice, addiction is not.

RedCape

4/3/2009 2:50:32 PM

And shame on me for hitting the submit key before extending my condolences to Mr. Franta’s family.Alcoholism hurts in so many ways.Blessings to all who love him.

RedCape

4/3/2009 2:53:38 PM

I knew Greg very well. We went to college together at CU and we both lived in Aspen in the early 1970s.I was a ski bum and he was an Intern at Fritz Benedict’s Architectural firm. I’m not here to condone or comdemn what he did. He had his demons like we all do. At age 58, he was in the prime of his life and at the very peak of an extremely interesting and sucessful career, which took him all over the world. I feel very sad that a man as gifted and loved as he was, made such a horrible decision that cost him his life. He was my friend and his disappearance and death has deeply affected me.Tomorrow is not promised to anybody. All that matters is what do today. Please know that the work that Greg performed over his lifetime has had an immense affect throughout the world.He was one of the first architects to embrace and advocate the design and construction of buildings using energy saving technology and alternative energy resources which we label today as being “Green.” He was doing this at least 30 years before Al Gore.

ivafox

4/3/2009 7:10:34 PM

“A bartender at a Denver strip club that Greg Franta visited hours before police believe he died in a car crash said he was “already drunk” when he came in and was cut off after one scotch, according to court documents providing new details of the Boulder architect’s final hours alive.”

It’s against the LAW to serve an already intoxicated person.

Lawsuit time!

Dr_Karma

4/4/2009 12:40:36 AM

When one is extremely intoxicated they can become lost & confused….Especially around that area – I was so drunk on one of my DUI s that I was driving 30 in a 50 & got totally lost trying to take the back roads, (63rd to Nelson ) to get home to Longmont . I had no clue where I was ! I have lived in Boulder county for 30 years.

~ I am proud to say that I no longer drink & drive – RIP Mr. Franta

Gardenburgers4prariedogs

4/4/2009 8:23:45 AM

I have no sympathy for this guy.I got hit head on by a habitually drunk driver(66 years old and multiple alcohol related infractions)at age 22.It has caused me pain for 30 years, ruined a friendship with my passenger, and totaled my parents car.I am only happy that he didn`t kill anyone else.

Until drinking and driving is outlawed, there will always be fools out there ready to kill others.Until the BAC level is lowered to 0.000%, there will be idiots who think it is their god given right to drive drunk.

Changing the law means a cultural adjustment and serious commitment and planning.Until then, we will continue to read stories about selfish killer drivers.Many other countries have much more logical alcohol laws.Isn`t it time we learned something from them?

tplboulder@yahoo.com

4/4/2009 9:56:34 AM

Join the Conversation

We invite you to use our commenting platform to engage in insightful conversations about issues in our community. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable to us, and to disclose any information necessary to satisfy the law, regulation, or government request. We might permanently block any user who abuses these conditions.