Driver in fatal car crash on CMC road won’t go to prison
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The young driver of a car that ran off the road near Colorado Mountain College on Oct. 20, 2011, killing one of the passengers and injuring himself and two others, will not be going to jail over the incident.
Garfield County Judge Paul Metzger ordered Demetrious Hunt, 18, to perform 100 hours of useful public service over the next nine months, take defensive driving lessons, and put him on probation for a year in a sentencing hearing on Monday.
If Hunt fails to satisfy the conditions of his probation, the judge cautioned, prison time remains a possibility.
Hunt pleaded guilty to reckless driving causing death and reckless driving causing injury, as part of a plea bargain worked out by Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey and defense attorney Chad Barsness.
Other charges, including possession of marijuana, were dropped when investigators learned that Hunt was not under the influence the night of the accident.
According to Hershey, Hunt and three fellow Colorado Mountain College students had driven to a party in the Spring Valley area and were on their way back on County Road 114 (Spring Valley Road). Driving at unsafe speeds, Hunt lost control of the vehicle. It went airborne off the road and rolled several times.
Steph Zgorzynski, 18, died from injuries sustained in the crash. Hunt and the other two passengers in the car were seriously injured, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Hershey said at least one passenger, Calla Fisher, whose back was broken in the wreck, had warned Hunt that he was driving too fast.
“I think he deserves some sort of punishment for our suffering,” Fisher told the judge at Monday’s hearing. She broke down weeping as she left the courtroom.
Hershey told the judge that Zgorzynski’s parents, who live on the Front Range and were not in court, do not want Hunt to go to prison.
“What they want most is to have their daughter back,” Hershey reported. “There’s nothing that this court can do to accomplish that.”
Hershey and others stressed that careless and “cocky” driving, coupled with speeding on a twisty country road in the dark, were the true culprits in the case.
“If one person can learn from this tragedy,” Hershey declared, “maybe that can be Stephanie’s legacy.”
In pronouncing the sentence, Metzger said he believed Hunt was “sincerely remorseful” over the accident. The judge said he hoped the 100 hours of useful public service would be an opportunity for Hunt “to start a series of good acts,” in contrast to the accident that killed Zgorzynski and injured the other two students.
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