There are many vehicular accidents that fall in a borderline area between criminal and mere negligence. Sometimes the police find it difficult to determine where the line is between negligence and criminality with respect to traffic accidents. In a recent case where a Colorado State Patrol trooper was killed by a passing motorist, the authorities have filed a criminal charge of careless driving resulting in death against the driver.
The accident occurred on Nov. 23 in the northbound lane of Interstate 25 when a truck hit and killed a trooper who was investigating another accident on the highway. The police arrested the 41-year-old driver after the crash, per the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. The criminal offense that he is charged with is a class one misdemeanor under Colorado law. He was reportedly driving a commercial box truck owned by U.S. Foods.
If convicted, the driver will face a maximum penalty of one year in county jail. The police apparently determined that alcohol or drug impairment was not involved. If there was that kind of aggravating factor, the charge would have been a felony of much more serious consequence. The reports and the nature of the charge reflect a likelihood that the driver became distracted in some way.
A seasoned criminal defense attorney can defend this criminal charge successfully in some instances due to the blurry line between negligence and criminality. Defense counsel will stress that the driver’s carelessness was not criminal in nature and, as such, he should not be facing the harsh consequences of incarceration under Colorado law. That will be a difficult challenge with the victim being a state trooper who was just doing his job. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the prosecutors and their policies will be best positioned to obtain the most favorable treatment possible under the circumstances.
Source: fox21news.com, “Deputies arrest driver who hit and killed Colorado State Patrol trooper“, Angela Case, Nov. 26, 2016