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DUI Busts of Denver Police Officer, Fire Official Highlight Drinking and Driving Problem

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

No one is above the law when it comes to drinking and driving, not even if busting people for getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is part of your job description.

A Denver sheriff’s deputy and a city police officer were recently suspended after crashing their cars while driving drunk, according to the Denver Post. Both men had blood alcohol content levels that were nearly double the legal limit at the time of the accidents, the news outlet reports.

The sheriff’s deputy reportedly flipped his car in a single-vehicle accident while driving home from a birthday party for Sheriff Elias Diggins. He reportedly texted Diggins about the accident hours after the crash and officially reported it the following day.

The deputy, whose BAC was 0.13% at the time of the accident, was suspended without pay for 14 days.

His “decision to drive his car in a compromised state involved a demonstrable risk not only to himself but to any person whom he may have encountered on his drive home,” Civilian Review Administrator Carl McEncroe wrote in the disciplinary letter obtained by the Denver Post.

The city police officer was suspended without pay for five days after he crashed his car in Lakewood, the Denver Post reports. 

“He was previously given a 10-day suspension in 2021 for a different incident involving alcohol,” Elise Schmelzer writes for the Denver Post. “But public safety officials agreed to not impose five of those days as long as he participated in a wellness program and did not incur more infractions.”

Meanwhile, a Denver Fire Department deputy chief resigned from his leadership role earlier this year after being popped for drinking and driving in his take-home car in Arvada, CBA Colorado reports. He was stopped while driving overnight as “the result of a domestic disturbance at his girlfriend’s home,” according to the news outlet.

“Police say there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from the Ford Explorer” and “his eyes were bloodshot and his speech was slurred,” CBS reported. He “told an officer he had been in a verbal fight with his girlfriend and said he had ‘a couple beers’ earlier in the evening.”

The fire official reportedly declined to participate in a roadside sobriety test or to submit to a breath alcohol test.

Drunk Driving Kills

Drunk drivers are a threat to everyone on the road. Intoxication slows drivers’ reaction time and impairs decision-making. That is a recipe for disaster when a drunk driver gets behind the wheel.

More than 250 people die in impaired driving crashes in Colorado every year, according to data compiled by the Colorado Department of Transportation. That figure has jumped by about 44 percent since 2019, CDOT says.

Cops are cracking down on impaired driving, whether it involves alcohol or drugs. The counties with the highest number of DUI arrests are El Paso, Adams, Larimer, Jefferson, Denver and Arapahoe. A total of 88 percent of people charged with DUI in Colorado are ultimately convicted. 

Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident? Know Your Rights

Arrests and prosecutions give little comfort to anyone who has been injured in a collision with a drunk driver. The good news is that a person injured in a drunk-driving car accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash. 

A Denver drunk driving accident lawyer at our firm can help you understand your rights and fight tirelessly to get you the full compensation available. We are seasoned attorneys who have decades of experience helping people and families harmed by drunk drivers.

The money damages often available in car accident cases are designed to put the person injured in the crash back in the position that he or she was in before the accident happened. It includes compensation for medical bills, property damage, missed wages and any impact on your long-term earning capacity. Additional damages may be awarded for pain and suffering, as well as to punish particularly reckless behavior in some cases.

In the tragic situation that a person is killed in an accident, his or her loved ones have the right to seek similar compensation by filing a wrongful death action. State law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.

To successfully obtain compensation, you have to be able to identify those responsible for the crash and prove their liability. The drunk driver – and his or her insurance company – are typically on the hook. The driver’s employer may also share liability if the person was driving a company car or otherwise on the job at the time, however. Auto manufacturers and other drivers may also carry some liability for the crash, depending on the circumstances.

Car accident cases in Colorado are commonly based on claims for negligence. This legal theory holds people and entities responsible when they do not live up to a particular “duty of care.”

Drivers, for example, owe others on the road a “duty of care” that requires them to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. That means obeying traffic laws, maintaining appropriate speeds and taking steps to ensure that their vehicles are in good working order. It also means avoiding risky behavior, like drinking and driving. 

A driver that does not live up to this responsibility is likely to be liable for any accidents that happen as a result.

Speak With a Denver Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or other accident in Colorado, an experienced Denver drunk driving accident lawyer at Levine Law can help you seek the maximum available compensation. Our attorneys will assist you in navigating the legal system and understanding your rights and options every step of the way. 

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 auto accident lawyer.