A Colorado man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge in a fatal Grand Lake crash that happened on July 4, 2013. The man received a sentence of one year in county jail and two years of probation. He was also ordered to complete an alcohol treatment program and 120 hours of community service.
Authorities said the driver was traveling 10 mph slower than the speed limit when he hit the victim. While police reported that his blood alcohol content was double the legal limit, the Colorado State Patrol wrote in a report that alcohol did not contribute to the accident.
The deceased victim’s family did not understand why the crash occurred if the driver was not drunk. The district attorney said he understands this but felt he had no legal option but to pursue a lesser DUI charge. He was concerned about dragging the family through the complications of a trial only to have a jury reject the conviction.
The driver issued his guilty plea on July 10. However, he is still facing two misdemeanor counts of child abuse because his children were in the vehicle with him at the time of the accident.
The families of fatal crash victims have the right to file wrongful death claims if the victims died as the result of another driver’s actions. If the families win the lawsuits, the resulting compensation may pay for funeral and burial expenses, loss of household income and loss of benefits. It might also compensate them for loss of companionship and for mental pain and suffering.
Source: CBS Denver, “Man Pleads Guilty To Reduced Charge For Fatal DUI Crash“, July 10, 2014