Case at impasse after crash that killed two on Hwy. 82 | AspenTimes.com

Case at impasse after crash that killed two on Hwy. 82

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The attorney for a trucker charged with two counts of vehicular homicide for a crash on Highway 82 last year hopes to break an impasse in the case by negotiating a plea bargain with the district attorney.

Thomas Silverman, the attorney for truck driver Mark Chamness, and Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Pototsky haven’t been able to arrange a disposition suitable to them both.

“I am not prepared to make an offer,” Pototsky told Garfield County District Judge Denise Lynch on Friday. “I’m not going to make an offer.

“I do think this case needs to be tried.”

The prosecutor said the Chamness case is one of two in which Silverman will go “over my head” and talk directly to District Attorney Martin Beeson to try to arrange a different agreement.

The case has lingered for more than one year after a traumatic crash Jan. 8, 2008, near Catherine Store, about 25 miles west of Aspen. Chamness was pulling his big rig off of private property on the north side of Highway 82 right before dawn. His goal was to turn east onto the highway. He was hauling a mobile trailer that was destined for Buttermilk for use as an office during the Winter X Games.

The trailer sat across the downvalley lanes of Highway 82 while Chamness was waiting for traffic to clear so he could turn, according to an accident report by the Colorado State Patrol. The investigator found that the trailer was inadequately lit so it was hard to see in the pre-dawn gloom.

A westbound Kia Sophia with three occupants slammed into the trailer. The driver and front-seat passenger were killed instantly. The driver was Elizeo Trinidad, 21, and the passenger was Noemy Ramos, 23.

A passenger in the back seat, Julio Hernandez Mendoza, was critically injured. A civil lawsuit has been filed by his guardian seeking damages from Chamness and Davidson Industries, a trucking firm from the Denver area.

Lynch indicated she wanted Chamness to accept a disposition to the case or plead not guilty at his next hearing Feb. 19.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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