A 37-year-old Nebraska man who pleaded guilty for killing a Parker bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash last year was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
Preston James Dorris was driving a Kia Spectra July 4, 2019, in unincorporated Douglas County, when he crashed into Edward Charles “Chuck” Vogel, Jr., described as an avid cyclist. Dorris fled the scene and abandoned his vehicle. Dorris was in Colorado to buy drugs, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Vogel died the day after the crash when his family removed him from life support. On the same day detectives found Dorris’ Kia, and he was arrested July 12 outside Alliance, Nebraska.
Prosecutors said Dorris wasn’t speeding and could see Vogel ahead of him. An open bottle of vodka and marijuana were found in his car, they said.
Dorris pleaded guilty to two felonies: leaving the scene of an accident involving death and vehicular homicide. He also pleaded guilty to a traffic misdemeanor for careless driving – vulnerable road user. The traffic misdemeanor is charge added through a law passed in 2019 by Colorado state lawmakers.
At the sentencing hearing Aug. 28, about 80 friends and family joined remotely to talk about their lost loved one, the DA’s office said in a news release.
“Chuck was left on the side of the road like a piece of trash,” his widow said at the hearing, according to the news release. “That was my husband, my best friend – he never regained consciousness and was on life support.”
“This was a crime, and he needs to pay – not just for Chuck, but for all those pedestrians and cyclists out there,” she added.
Prosecutors asked for the maximum sentence, citing Dorris’s criminal history, including two felony convictions and 23 misdemeanor convictions since 2003, according to the DA’s office.
“In this time of COVID, I am struck that life is fragile enough without people doing what you did. What you did that day and the days following is cowardly – there is no other way to describe it. There is no way to defend that,” Douglas County District Court Judge Theresa Slade said in the hearing.
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