Trial for trucker in fatal Hwy. 82 crash?
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The case of a trucker charged with two counts of vehicular homicide for an accident 25 miles west of Aspen on Highway 82 last winter appears headed to trial, a prosecutor said Friday.
Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Pototsky told a judge that it appears trucker Mark Chamness won’t accept a plea bargain. Pototsky said he met with Chamness’ attorney, Tom Silverman, Wednesday and they couldn’t agree on a resolution to the case.
“We’re very far apart on what we think the facts of this case show,” Pototsky told Garfield County District Judge Denise Lynch. “At this point we’re very far apart.”
He asked for another hearing in January to let both sides reconsider before settling the fate of a plea bargain. Pototsky said he didn’t want to take “a line-in-the-sand approach” until all talks were exhausted. Pototsky said a trial is the best course in some cases, and the Chamness case might be one of them.
Silverman wasn’t able to attend the hearing, but an attorney sitting in for him agreed to the continuance.
Chamness was involved in a tragic accident Jan. 8 near Catherine Store. He was pulling a tractor-trailer off of private property on the north side of Highway 82 and attempting to turn eastbound or upvalley, according to an accident report by the Colorado State Patrol. He was hauling a mobile trailer that was going to be used as an office at Buttermilk during the Winter X Games, the report said.
Chamness had to wait for traffic to clear before he could turn onto Highway 82. His trailer sat cross-wise on both westbound or downvalley lanes of the highway, according to the state patrol’s investigation. The investigator said the trailer wasn’t lit well so it was difficult to see in the pre-dawn darkness.
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 Adams County in Colorado’s Front Range. The civil case hasn’t been settled.
The district attorney’s office charged Chamness with vehicular assault/reckless driving in addition to the two counts of vehicular homicide.
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