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Suspect in deadly Longmont crash had heroin, drug paraphernalia in driver's seat, affidavit says

The crash happened Friday at 10:48 a.m. at the intersection of East 9th Avenue and Pace Street on the east side of Longmont.

LONGMONT, Colo. — The suspect who police say crashed a stolen pickup truck into multiple cars – killing one man and injuring several others – had heroin and other drug paraphernalia in the driver's seat during the crash, an affidavit released by the 20th Judicial District on Monday says.

The crash happened Friday at 10:48 a.m. at the intersection of East 9th Avenue and Pace Street on the east side of Longmont.

Just before the crash, a Longmont Police Services officer in a marked car tried to pull over a driver a few blocks away near East 9th Avenue and Martin Street because the pickup truck was believed to be stolen, LPS said.

However, police said, the driver took off during the traffic stop. Officers chased him briefly before stopping the pursuit for safety reasons. The crash happened after officers had stopped the chase, according to police. 

At one point, an officer called out over the radio that the suspect driver was "driving like an idiot."

When the suspect driver entered the intersection, the pickup broadsided a Hyundai Santa Fe, rolling the Santa Fe and killing the 93-year-old driver.

The affidavit identified the victim as Joe William Gold.

Police said a Subaru Impreza was then hit, and the 62-year-old rideshare driver and 19-year-old passenger in the backseat were injured. They were both taken to the hospital. 

The affidavit says the two were OK. Police said their car sustained "significant" damage.

The suspect, 37-year-old James Michael Kramer, survived the crash. He was arrested Friday after being released from the hospital. Kramer had a 36-year-old woman in the passenger seat, who was also taken to the hospital.

Credit: 20th Judicial District
James Michael Kramer

After the crash, officers detained Kramer, who pulled himself out of the pickup via a rear window.

Investigators interviewed Kramer after the crash. They say he told them he didn't know police were chasing him.

He told investigators he borrowed the truck from a friend, but he didn't want to say who the friend was during the interview. 

Kramer said he had slept in the truck and he'd just woken up and stepped out when someone pulled a gun on him. He told investigators he did not think the person who pulled the gun was a police officer. 

He said this person was chasing him in a car but again said it was not an officer and denied seeing the emergency lights illuminated behind him, the affidavit says. 

As a result of sleeping in the truck, the affidavit says, he did not have his shoes on his feet. One of the shoes became stuck under the brake pad, and he was unable to stop as a result. He knew he was going to crash and tried stopping, but he was unable to. 

The affidavit says Kramer wanted to make sure everyone in the crash was OK, but "the people" kept wrestling him down. He's presumably referring to the arresting officers. He said he kept asking if everyone was OK but did not get an answer. 

According to the affidavit, it appeared Kramer started to cry at that point – realizing people were likely not OK. When he was told the 93-year-old had died, Kramer said "no" in a louder voice and became more emotional. He also said "what" as he continued crying, "as if in disbelief." 

Kramer also asked why this was happening to him and asked if police got the guy with the gun. Investigators at that point informed him that it was police who were following him, trying to get him to stop the truck.

Kramer denied taking any drugs on the day of the crash but said he took some the day before, according to the affidavit. Specifically, he used heroin and methamphetamine. 

He told investigators he was so sorry after finding out what happened to the other people involved in the crash. He said no one had any sirens or lights on, nor did anyone tell him to pull over.

A search of the stolen truck revealed heroin needles, "a bundle of heroin," spoons, and additional drug paraphernalia in the driver's seat, according to the affidavit. 

Police said a drug recognition expert indicated on the warrant she observed Kramer to have droopy eyelids, notable pock marks on his face, shoulder, and chest. She indicated these are consistent with drug usage.

Kramer has active warrants out of Arapahoe, Douglas and Boulder counties which include charges of burglary, assault, theft, trespassing, attempt to influence, bond violation, drug, weapon, fraud, and motor vehicle theft.

In the crash, Kramer faces nearly a dozen charges including first degree murder. Here are the full list of charges.

  • Murder in the first degree
  • Vehicular homicide
  • Vehicle eluding
  • Aggravated motor vehicle theft
  • Vehicular assault
  • Assault in the second degree
  • Assault in the third degree
  • Assault in the third degree
  • Drove vehicle while license under restraint
  • Reckless driving
  • Failure to obey traffic control signal

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