Driver pleads guilty over fatal I-70 wreck
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Tyson Watson of Parachute, who was the driver in a one-car accident that killed his sole passenger last summer, pleaded guilty Thursday to reduced charges and is facing up to six years in prison.
Watson, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter, a class four felony, and one count of drunken driving, for his part in the death of Alfredo Salcedo-Miranda, 20, also of Parachute.
Watson had been facing charges of vehicular homicide (a class three felony carrying a longer prison sentence), two counts of drunken driving, careless driving and lack of proof of insurance, according to documents on file with the 9th Judicial Court.
According to documents in the court file, Watson was driving west along I-70 on the night of July 20, 2012, when his pickup truck veered out of control and crashed at mile marker 94.
Salcedo-Miranda was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the truck and pronounced dead at the scene, according to a report from the Colorado State Patrol.
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Watson had to be extricated from the truck and taken to a hospital, where he told a CSP trooper that he had drunk several shots of liquor prior to getting in his truck and driving home, according to the report.
The plea bargain had first come up in court on Feb. 7 but was delayed due to a dispute about the potential use of a “crime of violence” sentencing enhancement, which could have doubled the potential sentence.
In the final plea deal, attorneys for the prosecution and defense agreed that the offense was not a crime of violence, meaning Watson faced a maximum prison term of six years for the manslaughter charge. He also faces up to a year in jail for the drunken driving charge.
The victim’s parents were in the courtroom on Thursday, said Deputy District Attorney Scott Turner, who added, “I don’t think they’re entirely satisfied with the plea.”
The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Aurelio Salcedo of Parachute, are expected to testify at Watson’s sentencing hearing on April 18.
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