Driver in fatal Red Dirt Hill crash sentenced to six months jail |

Driver in fatal Red Dirt Hill crash sentenced to six months jail

A crash on Highway 40, just north of the entrance to Snow Mountain Ranch, claimed the life of two people in May 2019.
Sky-Hi News file photo

The driver who caused a car crash that killed a Wyoming couple has pleaded guilty to reduced charges and will spend six months in jail.

On Monday, Thomas Lange, 20, of Granby took a plea deal that outlined six months in jail, over $6,000 in fines and restitution, 300 hours of community service and 30 months of unsupervised probation for two counts of careless driving causing injury. He was initially charged with two counts of careless driving causing death.

Lange is also required by the court to write a letter of apology to the family and participate in a victim impact panel with Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Previously, Lange had been set for trial in May after initially pleading not guilty in December 2019 to two charges of careless driving resulting in death. That trial was vacated by the court because of a Colorado Supreme Court order prohibiting jury trials through July due to a concern that juries couldn’t be called safely.

Neither the 14th Judicial District Attorney nor representation for Lange returned requests for comment.

Last May, Lange was driving a 2002 Ford F-250 on US Highway 40 north of the entrance to YMCA of the Rockies-Snow Mountain Ranch near Red Dirt Hill.

According to Colorado State Patrol, Lange was following a 2014 Chevrolet Malibu that slowed because the passing lane was about to end and rear-ended the Malibu in his pickup. Lange’s pickup then crossed into the westbound lane and hit a 2004 Buick sedan head on.

The front of the sedan was crushed and Lange’s truck rolled onto its side. The driver of the sedan, Raymond Allen Shelton, 77, and his wife Betty Jean Shelton, 75, of Saratoga, Wyoming, were taken to Middle Park Health with injuries they later died from.

Lange was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The driver of the Malibu was not seriously hurt.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Lange will be required to complete his jail time before Dec. 8.

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