No criminal charges in fatal log truck crash on Hwy. 82
September 30, 2011
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – There will be no criminal charges filed in the case of a logging truck driver who allegedly caused a fatal crash after running a stoplight on Highway 82 south of Glenwood Springs in August.
John H. Briggs, 58, of Del Norte, will, however, face additional traffic counts in connection with the Aug. 16 accident that left 24-year-old Claudia Tena de Ramirez of Glenwood Springs dead.
Briggs is charged with careless driving causing death, a traffic violation that could result in his commercial truck driver’s license being revoked.
At a Garfield County Traffic Court hearing Thursday in Glenwood Springs, the 9th District Attorney’s office requested additional traffic counts for running a red light, expired vehicle registration on his truck and unspecified safety violations involving the logging rig.
“We did review the entire case and decided not to file a felony level case,” Chief Deputy DA Jim Leuthauser said, adding there wasn’t sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges.
The extra traffic counts were recommended by the Colorado State Patrol, he said.
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According to State Patrol reports from the accident, Briggs was eastbound on Highway 82 the afternoon of Aug. 16 when he allegedly ran a red light at the County Road 154/Buffalo Valley intersection.
The rig slammed into a Jeep driven by de Ramirez, who was making a left turn from 154 Road onto Highway 82. She was the only occupant of the vehicle, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The count of careless driving causing death could carry a sentence of up to one year in the county jail, as well as possible revocation of Briggs’ driver’s license, Leuthauser said.
De Ramirez was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident, according to the State Patrol. Briggs was not wearing a seatbelt, but was not injured in the crash.
Briggs was released on a summons following the accident. He appeared before County Judge Paul Metzger Thursday via phone along with his attorney, Lynn French of Crawford. French did not object to the amended charges in the case.
Briggs will have another court hearing on Nov. 7, at which time a plea may be entered, French indicated to the court.