Transition in DA’s office a ‘struggle’ for victim’s father | AspenTimes.com
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Transition in DA’s office a ‘struggle’ for victim’s father

Chad Abraham

The father’s weary, grief-stricken face shows the heavy toll of trying to see justice done in his son’s death.It has been 10 months since Tim Terral’s son, Alex, a National Merit scholar and varsity basketball player at Aspen High, died from injuries sustained in a car accident outside town. He was 17.For nearly a year, Terral has persevered through interminable court proceedings made longer by new prosecutors taking over the case. He said he understands the pressure that new attorneys in the 9th Judicial District are under as they try to get up to speed on a disparate caseload.But the vehicular homicide case brought against Dustin Hite, the driver of the car his son was riding in, has been particularly tough for Terral.”It’s been very frustrating because you spend a lot of time with certain people who know about the case and then you get new people who don’t know about the case,” he said. He stressed that he doesn’t blame the new prosecutors handling the charge against Hite. “It’s been a real struggle. The whole process is messed up because of the transition and the confusion.”I don’t know about the competency of the previous people or these people,” he said, referring to past and present prosecutors. “I haven’t seen the final result yet. But I just know that it has not helped the process because of the confusion.”Hite and his parents, along with their attorneys, attended a brief hearing with Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter and Terral on Monday evening. The sides had negotiated earlier in the day, and they told Judge James Boyd that they have arrived at a settlement, though it wasn’t presented to the judge. A review of the disposition will occur May 26.Terral told the judge that he has always strongly advocated that Hite be charged with vehicular manslaughter, saying the accident was “not careless, but reckless.” Attorneys on both sides refused to comment after the hearing.”We’ll have to wait and see what the final result is,” said Terral.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com


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