Aspen woman to be sentenced on fifth DUI offense |

Aspen woman to be sentenced on fifth DUI offense

Staff report
The Aspen Times

An Aspen woman whose vehicle rear-ended a Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office patrol vehicle that was parked on the shoulder of Highway 82 is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Karen M. Sahr, 57, pleaded guilty to DUI in October in connection with the March 10 offense. Pitkin County Court records show that Sahr had four prior drunken-driving convictions between 1991 and 2007. Three were in Colorado and one was in Montana.

Deputy Erin Smiddy was sitting in the patrol vehicle at the time. A statement issued Thursday by Smiddy’s legal counsel — Becnel Law Firm LLC, which practices law in Louisiana and Colorado — says that Smiddy’s injuries were considerable.

“Deputy Smiddy suffered injuries to her neck, knees and back as a result of the accident,” a news release from attorney Daniel Becnel states. “(She) is still under the care of a physician for her injuries caused by the defendant.”

The Chevrolet Tahoe SUV that Smiddy had parked on the highway shoulder near Wildcat Ranch just prior to the incident was totaled. During Sahr’s initial court appearance, prosecutor Jason Slothouber said that she tested at a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 soon after the crash. The threshold for DUI arrests in Colorado is 0.08.

State sentencing guidelines call for a minimum jail sentence of 60 days for a fifth-offense DUI. A misdemeanor charge of careless driving-causing injury was dismissed by the 9th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Citing standard policy, a prosecutor in the Aspen office of the District Attorney declined comment Thursday when asked about sentencing recommendations for Sahr.