CSU RamRide driver charged with DUI

Two RamRide volunteers in the same car were pulled over on suspicion of DUI and the driver was arrested Friday at approximately 2 a.m. by CSUPD while operating a RamRide vehicle, according to a spokesperson for the Associated Students of CSU.

The car’s passenger-side navigator was issued a ticket and let free, the spokesperson added.

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That night, approximately 15 people were driven home by each RamRide vehicle, according to department director Chelsey Green. At the time of the arrest, however, no one but the driver and navigator were in the car, said ASCSU Chief of Staff Robert Duran.

Duran said the volunteer was arrested on unknown charges. But according to a public information officer from the Larimer County District Attorney’s office, a CSU student was handed down four criminal charges that same day, including counts of speeding, driving under the influence of liquor, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

All charges are misdemeanors, according to a criminal history records search at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s website.

A source with knowledge of the incident confirmed that the name of the volunteer is the same as the name of the student charged.

“We’ve never had this situation in the past. We don’t, if there is anybody who we suspect to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol we do not allow them in the car,” said ASCSU President Regina Martel. “They sign, not a waiver but a policy of ours that says they will not operate a car while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. We try to screen our volunteers as much as possible. We can’t control what every single person does.”

Duran added that the on-site RamRide director had been attempting to reach the driver when RamRide operations stopped at 2 a.m. and the university owned vehicles are turned in.

Austin O’Neil, the RamRide director in charge Thursday night, then contacted the navigator on his personal cell phone, when the navigator informed O’Neil he had left the vehicle and the driver had been arrested.

O’Neil declined to comment about the incident.

Shortly afterward, a CSUPD officer came into the RamRide office to tell O’Neil what to do about the RamRide vehicle. In most cases the vehicle would be impounded, but since it had government plates the officer gave O’Neil a ride back to the vehicle who was then able to return it to the university motor pool.

Friday morning, ASCSU notified CSU administration of what happened.

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“As far as RamRide policies and procedures and emergency protocol we followed everything that’s in emergency protocol,” Duran said. That protocol includes notifying the director on call –– who was Martel the night of the incident –– and filling out an incident report.

“I just want to stress that this is an isolated incident and the actions of one shouldn’t negatively affect everyone,” Duran said.

While not commenting on the RamRide volunteers pulled over by campus police, CSU Student Legal Services Director Kathleen Harward said it is difficult to say which legal penalties may arise from charges such as speeding, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and a DUI.

Past offenses, the age of the offender and other discretionary topics alter the penalty, Harward said.

Senior Reporter Austin Briggs can be reached at news@collegian.com. Senior Reporters Kate Simmons, Sean Meeds, ASCSU Beat Reporter Skyler Leonard and News Editor Andrew Carrera contributed to this report.