Colorado State Trooper Jamie Jursevics was killed in a DUI hit and run crash on Interstate 25 in Castle Rock. A suspect has been arrested in the case. Retired army colonel Eric Peter Henderson had been driving the pickup that witnesses say struck the officer as she tried to flag him down. She had been investigating an accident on the side of the road when she recognized the vehicle as one that had been earlier reported as potentially being driven by a drunk driver.
Colonel Henderson had been returning home from the Broncos game where he was reported to have consumed at least six beers. He was wearing a Peyton Manning jersey in his mugshot.
The portion of the freeway on which the accident occurred was closed for investigation for part of Wednesday afternoon. We do not know exactly what this investigation entailed, but sometimes when incidents of this nature occur it is for purposes of accident reconstruction.
The former colonel faces extremely serious charges as a result of his actions. Vehicular homicide is a felony carrying up to 24 years in prison in the most aggravated cases. The standard presumptive maximum is 12 years in a DUI vehicular homicide case, but when there are aggravating circumstances, the defendant could receive more time. When a case is said to have “aggravating” circumstances, this means that there are facts in the case that show a particularly egregious kind of reckless behavior.
In a case involving the death of a police officer, prosecutors are likely to dedicate all of their energies to painting the defendant in the worst possible light and getting the maximum available sentence under the law. Depending on what the investigation reveals, potential aggravating circumstances could be:
- The blood alcohol concentration of the defendant,
- Whether the defendant should have seen the officer on the side of the road and moved over as required by law,
- Whether the defendant was speeding or violating other provisions of the model traffic code,
- The fact that the victim was a police officer, and
- The fact that the defendant fled the scene.
Depending on what information is discovered by the investigation, any of these factors could play a significant role in the sentence handed down. There may also be mitigating factors in this case. An obvious one that stands out to a casual observer without more information is that the defendant has served the country honorably in the armed forces. Any defense attorney worth their salt will likely press this fact with a jury. There may be other facts, depending on what the investigation reveals, that make the defendant’s conduct less culpable. Without indulging in undue speculation, it is possible that the officer may have unsafely stepped out into the roadway in her attempt to flag the driver down. Much will come down to the details. We do not know most of these details yet, and that is what the investigation is for.
Contact a Denver DUI Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for DUI, and especially if this arrest comes as a result of a fatal accident, you need the help of the legal professionals at the Tiftickjian Firm. We dedicate our practice to DUI defense, and when the stakes are as high as in a fatal crash, you need someone who specializes not only in general criminal law, but also in the particulars of DUI defense. Our team of dedicated attorneys and their experts know exactly how to find the weak spots in the government’s case against you and give you the best chance possible to get on with your life after a tragic accident. Don’t let the state railroad you out of a sense of guilt over your mistake. You have rights too. Let us fight to protect them.