In Colorado, DUI penalties are enhanced when the operator has also caused an accident as a result of driving under the influence. Where the accident causes a serious injury, the prosecutor will likely charge the accused with felony assault charges, i.e., the offense of vehicular assault. The penalty for vehicular assault associated with DUI is up to four years incarceration and a fine up to $500,000, along with a license suspension and other consequences.
These serious provisions may be relevant against a Colorado man who appears to have caused a chain-reaction accident on northbound I-25 on Feb. 16, 2019. He was driving a pickup truck north in the left lane of the highway when traffic started to slow down. He failed to slow down and crashed into a vehicle in front of him, according to the Colorado State Patrol. This caused a chain reaction that resulted in four persons being injured. At least one of the victims was airlifted to a Loveland medical center with life-threatening injuries, according to authorities.
The Colorado State Patrol reported that the operator who struck the first vehicle in the accident may have been under the influence of alcohol. A DUI charge under those circumstances would likely also bring a charge of vehicular assault due to the apparent serious injury caused to at least one of the victims. It is unknown, however, what precise evidence the police may have to support allegations of DUI against the suspect.
Because the suspect was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, it is questionable whether the police conducted field sobriety tests on him at the scene. It appears that he was able to consent to blood testing at the hospital but there have been no reports issued regarding the results nor if such testing was conducted. The bringing of DUI and related charges under Colorado law will be determined by the authorities upon an evaluation of all of the evidence that it possesses. A suspect in such circumstances will seek to obtain experienced defense counsel as soon as possible to assure that the rights of the accused are protected.