The Delta Police Department has issued a warrant for the arrest of James H. Catlin, age 31, of North Quincy, Massachusetts, charging him with alleged Vehicular Homicide, Vehicular Assault, Unlawful Use of a Controlled Substance, Driving Under the Influence (Alcohol), Driving Under the Influence Per SE (Alcohol), Driving Under the Influence (Drugs), Reckless Driving and Reckless Endangerment. James Catlin is described as a white male age 31, 5’9” tall, 175 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. The warrant was issued on March 13, 2017 as a result of an extensive investigation in regards to a two vehicle head on collision which occurred on February 6, 2017 in the 1300 block of Highway 50 North. Drugs and alcohol were implicated in the cause of the crash.
On February 6, 2017 at approximately 7:25 PM Gladys “Josie” Varela was driving a 1998 green Subaru Forester, east on Highway 50 when she was hit head on by a 2016 gray Ford Fusion driven by James H. Catlin. Gladys Varela, 19 of Olathe was pinned in the driver’s seat and died as a result of the injuries she sustained during the crash. Gladys Varela’s passenger, Victor Varela, 47, of Olathe sustained serious injuries as well. He was transported to Delta County Memorial Hospital for treatment.
James Catlin was pinned in the front driver seat of the gray Ford. He was reported to be unconscious yet breathing. He was eventually extricated from the vehicle and transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction for treatment where he was reported to have sustained life threatening injuries. The passenger of his vehicle, Nathaniel Merrill, 35, of Cedaredge sustained unknown visible injuries but refused medical treatment.
Highway 50 was closed down and traffic diverted to an alternate route, including the use of G-50 Road, with the assistance of Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Multiple agencies, to include Delta Fire, Delta County Ambulance District, Delta County Sheriff’s Office, and Colorado State Patrol worked together to assist in the investigation, care for those involved and clean up the accident scene. Both vehicles were towed from the scene and the Highway was fully re-opened around 12:45 AM.