A driver who hit and killed a 69-year-old motorcyclist near Sedalia, and then fled the scene, has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Ronald Hargrove, 49, of Parker, was sentenced Tuesday morning by Douglas County District Court Judge David Stevens for the death of Suzanne Weston, also of Parker.
Hargrove was sentenced for “leaving the scene of an accident involving death,” a felony, according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.
Hargrove was driving with a revoked license and with insufficient sleep, according to a DA’s office news release. He had two previous DUI convictions but refused to follow through with treatment and “violated out” of substance abuse programs.
“You chose to take the risk of getting behind the wheel,” Stevens told Hargrove at sentencing. “Everyone who was on the roadway that day was put at risk – the numbers caught up with you.”
After the fatal hit-and-run collision, Hargrove had low levels of alcohol, THC and prescription medications in his system, prosecutors said.
“Yet another driver who somehow feels that driving is a right, and not a privilege,” said District Attorney George Brauchler. “This man shouldn’t have been behind the wheel – let alone after consuming alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. But he made an irresponsible, selfish decision, and he cut short the life of Suzanne Weston.”
On Oct. 12, 2017, Weston, along with three other motorcyclist in her group, was riding northbound on U.S. Highway 85 in Douglas County. The riders, single file, were in a left-turn only lane and slowed to wait for a green light to turn onto Colorado 67 toward Sedalia. Weston was last in line, the news release stated.
Hargrove, driving a 2010 Dodge Ram pickup northbound on U.S. 85, went from the right lane into the left turn lane, cutting off a separate vehicle, with multiple witnesses, at the scene. The truck hit Weston and veered off the highway through a ditch and onto the frontage road, the release stated.
Hargrove got out of his truck, walked over to Weston lying in the road, then got back in the truck and drove off. Weston was taken to a hospital but did not survive.
Witnesses at the scene got his license plate number. Hargrove was arrested a short time later by a Douglas County deputy.
On March 22, a Douglas County jury found Hargrove guilty of leaving the scene and of “vehicular homicide, reckless driving,” a felony. Colorado law does not mandate prison time for either offense, the DA’s office said.
Weston’s husband, family and friends addressed the court Tuesday.
Prosecutors described Hargrove’s actions as “horrific” and “appalling” in asking the court to impose a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison.
“It wasn’t an ‘accident’ in the moments after he crashed,” Deputy District Attorney Dan Warhola told Stevens. “He got out of his truck, looked at what he had done, walked back to his truck and fled the scene. It was a choice. He left Suzanne Weston to die in the middle of the highway.”