The Felony Case
This is a difficult part to talk about.
- The man who plowed into my family's car ran away from the scene
of the crash, leaving my wife and boys to suffer their fates. Several
things have happened as a result.
- First, although the investigating agents suspected that
there was alcohol or drugs involved, there was no way to prove "beyond a
reasonable doubt" that the driver was under the influence.
He did not turn himself in until 14 hours after the crash. All evidence
would have been erased by that time. As a result, the driver was
only charged with a traffic violation (misdemeanor) for the crash itself that
caused the death of my son.
- The only reason why we even know who killed my son is that the
license tag of the truck fell off at the scene of the crash.
- There was nothing that anyone could do to prove that the driver
was "reckless" or "under the influence" causing the crash. Colorado law
prevented the driver from being charged with a felony for the crash.
However, the driver purposefully fled the scene of an accident that resulted
in serious injury and death.
Because of that, the driver was charged with two
felonies. One count was for leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death.
The other was for leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a serious injury.
The District Attorney then prosecuted him
to the fullest extent that the law allowed
for those two charges. That was the the best they could do.
The maximum penalty would have been two consecutive 6-year jail terms.
- Current Status and Case Resolution:
- The legal proceedings are now completed. Arraignment was held
Monday, November 15, 2004. The defendant pled "not guilty" to
all charges and requested a trial by jury. The jury trial was scheduled for
March 15, 2005.
- However, after the arraignment in November, the defendant later chose to
change his plea from "not guilty" to "guilty" for the two felony charges,
in exchange for concurrent (at the same time) and not consecutive
(back-to-back) sentences. We accepted this plea bargain.
The guilty plea was formally entered in court at the pre-trial conference
on February 7th, 2005. The scheduled trial was cancelled and the case
moved directly to sentencing.
- The sentencing hearing was held on May 13, 2005, nearly one year after
Timmy's death. Judge Curry heard eight
statements from people representing us as the victims and saw the powerpoint
presentation found elsewhere on this website. Then he heard four statements
from people representing the defendant. The defendant's attorney spoke
followed by the District Attorney's representative.
- Judge Curry considered all the options ranging from community corrections
(like a half-way house), to probation, to department of corrections (prison)
ranging from two to six years.
- The defendant was sentenced to four years in the department of corrections.
He was handcuffed and led away to begin his sentence immediately.
He is currently being held at a minimum security prison facility in Colorado.
- The defendant was eligible for parole in February, 2007. This must not have
been successful, because he is scheduled again for a parole hearing in September,