Assistant DA files misdemeanor DUI charges in accidental death of Rifle woman
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Prosecutors charged a Rifle man accused of vehicular homicide with misdemeanor charges because they say that the evidence did not support felony charges.
Prosecutors decided not to charge Eric N. Duarte, 30, with felony vehicular homicide in the accidental death of 23-year-old Audra Kelley. Instead, Assistant District Attorney James Leuthauser filed misdemeanor charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving without proof of insurance in Garfield County District Court, Wednesday.
According to Leuthauser, there was not sufficient evidence to charge Duarte with the felony.
“It’s the same standard we use in any case,” he said. “It’s based on the extent and nature of evidence in the case.”
Leuthauser added that the standard for filing a felony or misdemeanor case is based on the likelihood of conviction at a jury trial.
Duarte was arrested on Aug. 8 on charges of vehicular homicide, careless driving causing death, driving under the influence of alcohol, and failure to provide proof of insurance, according to the Colorado State Patrol.
Kelley died shortly after she fell from the bed of Duarte’s 2008 Toyota Tacoma while traveling up JQS road, on Bureau of Land Management property which leads to the top of the Roan Plateau.
According to the arrest affidavit, Kelley sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall and died while en route to the hospital. Kelley was a wife and mother of two.
Four other occupants in the truck were uninjured.
Duarte is due back in court in Oct. for arraignment on the misdemeanor charges.
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