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Accused DUI Driver in Colorado Record Store Crash Previously Killed Pedestrian

A Colorado man accused of drunkenly plowing his car into a Lakewood record store was previously convicted of vehicular homicide for killing a pedestrian while intoxicated behind the wheel.

Cops believe the 47-year-old man was drunk when he crashed his car into the front of Chain Reaction Records in Lakewood around 1:30 am on a recent Saturday, according to CBS Denver. He then drove off, but police reportedly tracked him down by tracing tire tracks to the man’s home near West Estes Street and West 20th Avenue.

The man was previously prosecuted for a 2007 DUI accident in which he mowed down a 24-year-old pedestrian. The driver, who admitted to driving drunk after attending a Colorado Rockies game, was convicted of vehicular homicide. He spent only 90 days behind bars, however, despite presumptive sentencing ranging from two to six years in prison.

This time around, the driver faces a slew of fresh criminal charges. They include driving under the influence, careless driving, failure to provide insurance, hit and run, and failure to notify police or remain on the scene of an accident.

He reportedly suffered minor injuries in the crash.

Meanwhile, Chain Reaction Records’ owner told CBS Denver that the store suffered significant structural damage, as well as damage to some merchandise, in the collision. Owner Josh Lent said one contractor told him it would take months to completely repair the store, the front of which is now boarded up.

Lent said he was awoken by a call from cops alerting him of the crash in the hours following the collision.

“Some drunk dude just bookin’ down Colfax, can’t make the turn here, takes out the light pole, pops over the curb right here, through the bricks, through the cinder blocks and probably about 12 feet into the store,” Lent said in an interview with CBS Denver.” Loses part of his bumper in the store, jams it into reverse, backs out.”

Drunk Driving Deaths in Colorado

These kinds of crashes – including among repeat offenders – are all too common in Denver and across Colorado.

When people make the reckless decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, they put not only themselves but everyone else on the road with them at risk.

In December, for example, a suspected drunk driver struck two police officers and two firefighters in Commerce City. The driver plowed into an ongoing crash investigation scene on I-76, according to The Denver Gazette.

The driver, a 24-year-old Brighton man, was later arrested and charged with driving under the influence. 

“This has to stop,” Commerce City City Manager Jason Rogers said at a press conference following the collision. “We as a community have to come together. We have to make wise decisions. We have to be vocal. We have to be present. And we need to make sure we’re thinking about the safety of all of our members of our community at all times.”

At least 218 people were killed statewide in crashes related to impaired driving last year, based on preliminary data from Colorado State Patrol. That is down significantly from the 286 fatalities a year earlier, but officials warn that the tally is expected to rise once the data is finalized. 

Arapahoe County (26) saw the highest number of fatalities involving an impaired driver in 2023, followed by Adams (22), El Paso (21) and Jefferson (20).

The CSP and local law enforcement agencies recently launched a “winter blitz” DUI enforcement period, cracking down on drunk driving with additional patrols and sobriety checkpoints.

“Don’t risk losing your time, money, license or even your life because of a DUI,” Col. Matthew C. Packard, chief of the Colorado State Patrol, said in a statement announcing the blitz. “Even if you think you’re okay to drive, it’s always better to plan for a sober ride. All motorists, passengers and pedestrians are counting on your decisions this year.”

Injured in a Car Accident? Here is What You Should Know

Anyone who is injured in a drunk driving car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. You do not need to go it alone: an experienced Denver accident attorney can help you understand your rights and options, identify those liable for the collision and maximize your money damages.

Most Colorado car accident cases are based on claims of negligence, a legal theory that holds people and entities responsible when they do not live up to a certain “duty of care.”

Drivers, for instance, owe others on the road a duty to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means obeying traffic laws, maintaining appropriate speeds and avoiding risky behavior like drinking and driving. A driver who does not meet this responsibility is likely to be liable for any accidents that happen as a result.

The money damages often available in these cases includes compensation for medical bills, property damage, missed wages and any impact on your earning capacity. In the tragic case that a person is killed in an accident, his or her loved ones have the right to seek similar compensation from wrongful death.

Money damages will not allow you to go back in time and stop the crash from happening. Compensation can, however, ease some of the pain and stress that comes with being involved in a traffic accident. 

To get compensation, you have to be able to identify those responsible for a crash and prove liability. You do not need to go it alone: a Denver personal injury lawyer at our firm can help you understand your rights and maximize your compensation.

Speak With a Denver Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law can help. Our attorneys combine decades of experience and a strong track record of success in the courtroom and through negotiated settlements.

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver personal injury lawyer.

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