Glenwood teen whose crash severely injured a classmate is barred from driving for a year |

Glenwood teen whose crash severely injured a classmate is barred from driving for a year

Ryan Summerlin

A Glenwood Springs teen driver who wrecked in September, seriously injuring a classmate riding with her, on Wednesday was barred from driving for one year as part of her sentence.

The 16-year-old pleaded guilty in Garfield County juvenile court in November to reckless endangerment and careless driving resulting in injury. She was initially also charged with vehicular assault, which would be a class 5 felony were she charged as an adult.

The teen received a deferred judgment on the reckless endangerment charge and a “straight adjudication” on her careless driving charge. She was also fined $150 under the careless driving charge.

Among other requirements, she’ll have to complete 24 hours of public service and write a letter of apology to the victim and his family.

While they weren’t at the girl’s sentencing, Deputy District Attorney Tony Hershey said the victim, Victor Gamez, and his family viewed this wreck as an accident, and they are sympathetic to the juvenile defendant’s case.

This was a case of the driver going too fast, taking a sharp turn and losing control, said Hershey.

Gamez was seriously injured in the wreck and required surgery to his fractured eye and cheek.

Hershey said Gamez is recovering well.

Because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt at the time of the wreck, he bounced around the car as it spun, said Hershey.

Also in the car were three other teens, who, along with the driver, suffered minor injuries.

The girl had been licensed for only a few days, and new drivers are barred from carrying non-family passengers younger than 21 for the first six months without a licensed adult in the vehicle.

Before her sentencing, the teen took the “Alive at 25” driver’s awareness course. She also spoke before her classmates at Glenwood High School, warning about the dangers of careless driving.

Hershey said the girl should get kudos for speaking before her classmates, as it’s surely not an easy thing to stand in front of your peers.

“I think the (victim’s) mother is correct, this was an accident,” albeit an avoidable accident, he said.

“When driving a car, you’re the captain of the ship and responsible for the safety of your passengers,” said the deputy DA. “If this (sentence) can prevent one juvenile, from Parachute to Aspen, from making the same decision, I think that’s a good thing.”

Greg Greer, the teen’s attorney, said his client has a lot of positive things going for her, and she has unequivocally taken responsibility for what happened.

To the judge, the teen said she had learned a lot from the court process and was happy with the outcome.

Judge Paul Metzger said he was confident that she would complete the year of probation successfully and that the court would be able to dismiss the reckless endangerment charge after that time.

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