A tragic accident left one University of Colorado student, 21, dead in 2015, and two of her companions seriously injured. Law enforcement that responded to the scene of the accident believed that sleep deprivation, substance abuse, and high speed contributed to the deadly crash. The driver has now been found guilty and sentenced.

Recounting the Accident

The accident took place at 4:10 PM on Sunday, between Steamboat Springs and Milner, as noted by Trooper Lewis, a Colorado State Patrol Trooper. Lewis stated that the driver, a 23-year-old gentleman was operating a 2008 Jeep SUV on US 40 East when he lost control of the vehicle and veered off the left side of the highway.

After leaving the highway, the vehicle dipped into an embankment, climbed another, and rolled twice before settling upright. A female, one of the vehicle’s passengers, was ejected during the crash, likely because she was not wearing a seatbelt. While a passerby attempted to revive her with CPR, unfortunately she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another female passenger had to be extracted from the vehicle by emergency responders. Along with the driver, she was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center. Both were wearing their seatbelts and sustained serious injuries. They were both released from medical care and suffered no long-term physical impairment.

As Lewis noted, both the vehicle’s speed, the driver’s suspected sleep deprivation, and drug impairment were considered contributing factors in this heartbreaking case. A spokesperson from the University of Colorado, confirmed that driver and both passengers were students at the state university. A memorial was held for one student at the school’s memorial center.

Driver Sees His Day in Court

This past Friday, the driver pled guilty after being charged with two felony counts of vehicular homicide as well as two counts of felony vehicular assault in a plea deal offered by the prosecutor.

In a drug test following the incident, he was found to have cocaine and anti-anxiety prescriptions in his system. He also tested positive for cannabis use at 8.3 nanograms per ml of blood—well above the statutory five-nanogram limit, according to Judge Shelley Hill of the District Court.

He wept during the hearing, during which he received a four-year prison sentence, despite his attorney and the other family’s pleas for leniency from the court. However, despite the family asking the judge to be lenient on the young man, the mother and father still expressed their anger and sadness about the event.

He stated, “I do not deserve their forgiveness, and I cannot forgive myself. It feels I am lost with no path to follow.”

A Case with No Winners

An accident such as this is catastrophic all around. A young girl has lost her life, a family their daughter, and a young man will spend the rest of his in regret. While in this situation guilt was by admission, not all auto accidents are so cut-and-dry. How the aftermath of such a case is handled can dramatically affect all those involved.

If you have been involved with a car crash, it is critical that you have a reputable Colorado lawyer at your back. Rector Law is here to answer any questions you may have and ensure all parties involved are treated fairly while justice is served.