ST. PAUL - The 50-year-old man accused of speeding, losing control of his SUV, then striking and killing a Harding High School student on Thursday faces a charge of criminal vehicular homicide, according to court documents.
Carlos Viveros-Colorado told police that he had been suffering from numbness in his legs for three to four months and that that was what caused him to swerve to avoid hitting a parked car, the criminal complaint said.
Viveros-Colorado then lost control of his SUV while turning left on Hazelwood Street from 3rd Street, police said. The vehicle knocked over a fire hydrant, jumped a curve, knocked down a sign and then careened down a steep embankment onto the Harding High grounds where the two teens were sitting.
Viveros-Colorado, whose sister told police that her brother was working in the U.S. without proper documentation, told police that he was going at least 40 mph at the time of the crash and that his foot was stuck on the accelerator. Witnesses told police that the SUV appeared to be traveling about 50 to 60 mph.
Grime, 16, and her boyfriend Eduardo Vasquez-Torres, 17, were sitting at the bottom of that embankment in the shade of a tall tree, while waiting for a bus to arrive. They had no time to react to the truck before being struck.
Grime was pronounced dead at the scene, while Vasquez-Torres was treated at Regions Hospital and later released.
"They were minding their own business, just sitting there, and that car, truck, just came, started flying!" Ashley Moore, one of several nearby residents who ran to the scene, told KARE.
Moore said the boy was screaming for someone to call an ambulance.
"We're sitting there right by her, and, just praying to God that she can still just breath," she recalled. "The boy was like hysterical. He was like, 'Listen to the sound of my voice! Please be alive'!"
She described Viveros-Colorado, who waited for police to arrive, as shocked and speechless.
By evening other Harding students began dropping off roses, flowers at the high school's main sign, and looking at the tire tracks that led down the embankment to the spot where their classmate died.
"I saw her in class every day," Megan Hutchinson told KARE. "It's sad to know she's not going to be there."
Two ninth grade boys visited the site and broke into tears when shown a yearbook photo of Grime. They said they were too grief stricken to speak on camera, but told reporters their friend was a happy girl who seemed to always have a smile on her face.
The Saint Paul Public Schools had counselors at Harding Friday to help students deal with the tragedy, according Jackie Turner, the district's director of family engagement.
Several residents in the neighborhood told KARE speeding has been a persistent problem on that section of 3rd Street East near the high school, which is posted at 30 miles per hour.
City Council President Kathy Lantry told KARE she wasn't aware of any recent attempts to convert the tee intersection of 3rd and Hazelwood into a three-way stop.
"Speeding is the number one complaint my office receives, by far," Lantry said. "But it's not just 3rd street. It's just about every street in my area of the City."
She noted curbing a speed-plagued area isn't always a matter of engineering or signals. It also requires education and enforcement.
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