Fourth of July accident: Judge postpones ruling on Ackerman felony counts
July 1, 2014
The 14th Judicial District Judge Mary Hoak moved the date of arraignment for Lucas Ackerman on a second DUI charge to July 10, 2014.
Last week, 14th Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey announced he would move to dismiss all felony counts against Ackerman relating to a July 4, 2013, vehicle-pedestrian collision, which left one man dead and four others injured.
Hoak said during Ackerman's June 30 status hearing that she had not yet signed anything that would allow the charges to be dismissed.
"I'm doing this hypothetically," said Hoak. "I haven't signed anything, but if he's no longer accused of taking a life and assaulting people, do I take that into account?"
"I certainly think that the court can take those factors into account," replied Han Ng, 14th Judicial District Assistant District Attorney.
The Colorado State Patrol found that Ackerman's speed of 40 miles per hour would have precluded him from avoiding the accident, regardless of whether he were sober. The felony charges proposed to be dropped are one count of vehicular homicide and three counts of vehicular assault.
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Hoak said if Ackerman is sentenced on July 10, he will be taken into custody that day.
A second DUI conviction in Colorado, of which Ackerman would have, carries a 10-day minimum jail term and a maximum term of one year.
Hoak said she would remand his arraignment on two counts misdemeanor child abuse to county court.
Ackerman struck and killed Gregory Westley, of Estes Park, and injured his wife Debbie and three of their eight children who were 18, 10 and 3 years old at the time of the accident. Ackerman's blood alcohol content was nearly twice the legal limit at the time of the accident, according to the police report.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.